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Dementia Care Awareness Day a Success 5 February 2013

On Thursday 31st January the Departments of Health and Social Care held a successful dementia care awareness day at the Villa Marina attended by over 600 people.

The Minister for Social Care Hon Chris Robertshaw MHK said:

“This was an extremely successful event and I would like to thank the speakers who gave up their time to give an invaluable insight into dementia. Due to the changing demographic on the Island, dementia cases are set to increase significantly and the event today has raised awareness both amongst professionals and the public.“

Leonard Singer Political member for Mental Health for the Department of Health and the Department of Social Care said:

“I was delighted that we had such a large attendance of professionals, carers and people suffering from dementia. The keynote addresses from Dr Jagus and Professor Banerjee gave an insight into the understanding and treatment of dementia and the obvious need for much more research funding. The contribution by Dr Johnson herself a dementia sufferer was inspiring. The event will hopefully be a launch pad to raise the awareness of dementia, demonstrate how the lives of sufferers can be improved and that it is possible to live well with dementia.“

The morning session for staff and professionals was attended by over 290 individuals. There were speeches from Dr Chris Jagus, Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry in the Isle of Man who gave an Isle of Man Perspective of dementia, and Keynote Speaker, Professor Sube Banerjee who highlighted the startling statistics that the number of people with dementia will double in the next 40 years and therefore good quality dementia care will be instrumental in the coming years.

This was followed by a series of workshops looking at various aspects of dementia, including discussion on the link between depression and dementia, de-mystifying dementia – myths and facts and the role of the memory service, run by the Department of Health, amongst others.

The afternoon session was open to the general public and there was a great turn out with over 500 attending. Again, Dr Jagus introduced the session and was followed by an inspiring talk from Dr Ann Johnson, a sufferer of dementia herself, previous nurse and lecturer of nursing who works tirelessly promoting the work of the Alzhiemer’s Society. She drew on first hand experiences on both the professional and personal side of the illness to give an insight into living with dementia. She shared her key messages including the need to seek help early if you are concerned as the earlier condition can be diagnosed the earlier treatment can start, it is possible to live well with dementia and the need to focus on what you can do rather than what you have lost. Most of all she stressed that we should love people for who they are.

Following the presentations, there was the opportunity for those in attendance to ask questions of Dr Johnson and then have a look around information stands and talk to representatives from various organisations.

For anyone who was unable to attend and would like help or information in relation to dementia please contact your GP if it is a concern about someone, or Alzhiemer’s Society on 642853 or Age Isle of Man on 631740 for general information.

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