Increasing awareness of dementia in West Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 15:01 23 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:17 23 May 2018

Joan Alfred and Sarah Fisher               Picture: VICTORIA FEAR

Joan Alfred and Sarah Fisher Picture: VICTORIA FEAR


A new drive is being held to dispel some of the myths surrounding dementia in a bid to encourage more people who are concerned about their health to visit a doctor.

West Norfolk currently has 1,723 people over the age of 65 who have been diagnosed with dementia.

But an estimated 1,147 people in West Norfolk, along with their loved ones and carers, are missing out on treatment and support because they have not been diagnosed.

West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group, which is responsible for buying health services locally, is hoping to encourage more people to visit their GP.

King’s Lynn GP and a member of the CCG’s Governing Body, Dr Pallavi Devulapalli, said people who are concerned about their health or that of a loved one to speak with their GP.

“Dementia undoubtedly has a profound effect on the lives of the patient and the people around them,” she said. “We know that some people are nervous about getting a diagnosis as they fear that they will be forced to move out of their home and end up in a care facility or they feel there is no point because dementia does not have a cure. However, it is important to know that people can live well with dementia.”

Evidence suggests that diagnosing dementia early will help that person to live independently for longer.

One group providing vital support to people with dementia and their carers is Downham Dementia Support Association. Formed in 2015, it works with Age UK, encourages businesses to become “dementia friendly” and runs a twice-monthly café.

Some 44 people attend the sessions, which are held on the third and fourth Mondays of the month in Downham Methodist Church Hall.

Chairman Joan Alfred said: “The café provides the people with dementia, and their carers, an opportunity to socialise with others in a supportive atmosphere. We also provide games, activities and outings. Our sessions also have a rolling programme of entertainment, which includes a singer, the Pets As Therapy (PAT) dogs and a manicurist. We are currently looking for someone to do reflexology.”

For more information about the Downham Dementia Association email or call 07514 698126.

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