World Alzheimer’s Day takes place every year on 21 September and is the focus of World Alzheimer's Month. The aim is to raise awareness, highlight issues faced by people affected by dementia and demonstrate how these issues can be overcome in order to help people live with the condition.
Alzheimer's Society, the UK charity leading the campaign, provides support and research for those affected. In the UK alone, there are over 850,000 people suffering with dementia and it is estimated that around 400,000 people have the condition without knowing it. As the UK population ages, dementia is likely to affect more and more of us and the current number of people living with the condition in the UK is set to rise to over one million by 2051.
Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases such as Alzheimer’s or a series of strokes. The symptoms may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. It can also change a person’s mood or behaviour, and in later stages, physical symptoms such as muscle weakness or weight loss can develop.
This year’s campaign focuses on the importance of working together to unite against dementia, which is a global problem that affects nearly 50 million people worldwide. It is hoped that by working with partners on global research and campaigning, to share learning, best practice and experiences with one another, to promote Dementia Friends as a global movement, and to forge partnerships as part of the Global Alzheimer's & Dementia Action Alliance, the lives of those living with dementia can be improved.
Commenting on World Alzheimer’s Day 2018, Lucie Prothero, a senior associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches, said: “A diagnosis of dementia is often devastating to both the person concerned and their friends and family. Although the symptoms are progressive, many people with dementia can enjoy a good quality of life with the right support.
“Given that so many of us will be affected by dementia, is it essential that the public is made aware of the support that is available from charities such as Alzheimer’s Society which can greatly improve the lives of individuals with the condition and their families.
“We have seen an increase in enquiries from friends and relatives of people with dementia who are unhappy about the way their loved ones have been cared for in hospital or community care settings. If the right care and support is not available, it can result in serious falls, dehydration and malnourishment, as well as pressure sores. Taking care of those with dementia needs to remain a health and social care priority and we fully support this year’s campaign.”