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Coping with dementia

PUBLISHED: 08:28 19 May 2015 | UPDATED: 08:28 19 May 2015

Dementia / Photo: Lightspring

Dementia / Photo: Lightspring

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It’s Dementia Awareness Week. Suffolk GP Dr Matt Piccaver suggests ways of coming to terms with this distressing condition

Britain is getting older, our life expectancy is increasing, and with that come more age-related illnesses, including dementia.

Dementia is a truly terrible condition, robbing us of our loved ones. Difficult for those suffering from the condition, and arguably worse for those around them.

By 2021, nearly one in every 60 people will have dementia. We will all know someone with dementia. Despite the ever increasing number of people diagnosed with the condition, treatment may be limited.

For some, the onset is insidious – a slow realisation that their memory might be failing. We’re all allowed the odd slip-up, the occasional forgotten name, but when do everyday memory failures become serious problems?

For others, dementia’s grasp might be tight, and their decline fast.

When should we suspect dementia? At first it is often hard to spot. Misunderstandings or disorientation may occur. There might be a subtle, gradual change in personality. We might notice our loved one become easily lost in normally familiar situations. We might discover problems carrying out tasks, such as washing, dressing, or cooking.

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