THERE was a wealth of information provided for people with dementia and their carers at an event held at the Villa Marina last week.
The day, to raise awareness about the condition, was organised by the Departments of Health and Social Care.
As well as a number of speakers, there was a range of stands represented by charities and organisations that provide services for people with dementia.
George Quayle, chief executive of Age Isle of Man – one of the charities represented – described the event as ‘excellent’.
He said: ‘It did suggest we could be more optimistic and in many cases, if we diagnosed dementia early enough, we could certainly enable dementia sufferers a reasonable quality of life.
‘As a result of that, there was a definite strain of optimism that ran through the conference that I found very heartening.’
He said that dementia was ‘almost a taboo word’, and that instead ‘we have to embrace this word and work with the various service providers that exist on the island to make sure we are proactive in getting the best possible care for sufferers and support for their carers’.
The first speaker was Dr Chris Jagus, consultant psychiatrist with the Older Persons Mental Health Service, who works extensively to help people with dementia.
He described the work he is involved in and the impact that dementia has on those affected as well as those who support and care for them.
He was followed by Dr Ann Johnson, who was keen to show life doesn’t just stop once a diagnosis has been given.
She originally trained as a nurse and then became a lecturer in nursing at the University of Manchester before being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease seven years ago at the age of 52.
An ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society, she has worked tirelessly for them as well as being involved in national media coverage, giving lectures and speaking at many events, describing her own personal journey.
A number of charities and organisations were represented. They included Manx Decaf, a charity which holds monthly cafes where those who have dementia or memory problems, their relatives and carers can meet to socialise and receive support.
Anita Gould and Christine Sugden of Noble’s Hospital library advertised the range of reading material on offer. And Age Isle of Man provided information about the day care support it provides in five centres.
Dementia describes symptoms including memory loss, problems with reasoning and communication skills, and a reduction in a person’s abilities and skills in carrying out daily activities such as washing, dressing, cooking and caring for self.