May is Dementia Friendly Month in Sheffield, drawing attention to what people can do to help those with the disease, as well as what they can do to prevent it.
There are around 7,000 people over the age of 65 living with dementia in the city, and one in three people born in the UK today will go on to develop dementia in their lifetime.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, there are 25 different dementia-related groups providing their services online, including memory cafes, creative classes and an online walking group.
Nicola Shearstone, Head of Commissioning for Prevention and Early Intervention at Sheffield City Council said: “For everyone in Sheffield even just learning more about dementia and the small ways they can help will make a big difference. It is important that people living with dementia can live in a dementia friendly community, where they are understood, respected and supported.”
Research suggests that up to 40% of dementia cases can be prevented or delayed by improving just 12 factors throughout life, including smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. The strongest factor that lead to dementia in later life was a lack of childhood education.
Steve Thomas, GP and Clinical Director for Mental Health, Learning Disability and Dementia at Sheffield NHS Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Dementia is something that will sadly impact nearly all of our lives at some point. During May we’re raising awareness and highlighting the importance of things that we can do to help reduce the risk of developing dementia. Making sure that we don’t smoke, that we control high blood pressure and cholesterol are just some of the ways we can reduce that risk.”
Sheffield’s dementia month is run by Sheffield City Council, along with the city’s hospitals and charities such as Age UK
The UK’s Dementia Action week will take place later this month, from the 17 to the 23 May, and by 2025, it is predicted that there will be a million people living with dementia in the country.