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Think of the person during Dementia Awareness Week

​GPs across the borough of Richmond are supporting Dementia Awareness Week, an annual event hosted by the Alzheimer’s Society, to raise awareness of the range of support available locally for those with dementia, their families, friends and carers.

While not exclusively a disease that affects older people, dementia mainly affects those over age 65.  In Richmond, around 2,000 people suffer from dementia, and this is expected to rise by 18 per cent over the next five years as the number of older people living in the borough increases.  What’s more, dementia sufferers almost always have at least one other accompanying physical condition, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, which places an even greater strain on themselves and their carers.
“Dementia can happen to anyone, and there’s currently no cure” explains Dr Graham Lewis, local GP and Chair of Richmond CCG.  “It can make those affected feel very frightened and alone, placing a huge strain on their relationships with others and the world around them.

“However, life doesn’t end when dementia begins.  A diagnosis of dementia may mean that plans for the future may change or that someone may need more help and support.  But they’re still the same person, with the same passion for life.
“This week, GPs across Richmond are asking residents to do something different to show that having dementia doesn’t stop you from doing the things you enjoy.
If you do have any concerns about your memory, talk to your GP, who’ll be able to provide advice and support.”

Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Adults’ Services, Councillor David Marlow, said: “Richmond aims to be a dementia friendly borough and we are committed to helping people with dementia to live well. Dementia Awareness Week is an opportunity to highlight the services available to people with dementia as well their carers and families. With more 2,000 people living in the borough with dementia it is important to raise awareness throughout our community.”
There’s a wide range of support available across Richmond for those who have been diagnosed with dementia and their carers.  The Richmond Joint Commissioning Collaborative, the combined commissioning function of the CCG and Richmond Borough Council, has worked with The Alzheimer’s Society to produce a guide to local dementia services.  You can download a copy of the guide here for more advice and support, as well as to find out about events happening across the local area during Dementia Awareness Week. 
Kingston and Richmond Crossroads Care also hosts the Caring Café on the first (Saint Augustine’s Vicarage, Twickenham) and third (Sheen Lane Day Centre, Richmond) Saturday of each month, offering people with dementia, their families, friends and carers an opportunity to get together for lunch and a chat.  For more information, click here.