Let's unite in fight for early diagnosis of dementia
A CHARITY leader has urged the city to back a national campaign to raise awareness of an illness which is striking people in epidemic proportions.
Ian Sherriff, a Plymouth-based Alzheimer's Society trustee, has called on city people to support the Government's new dementia awareness campaign 'A Day to Remember'.
Mr Sherriff, who is also a researcher at Plymouth University, was speaking to The Herald as this year's World Alzheimer's Week draws to a close.
He said: "There are 3,000 people in the city diagnosed with a type of dementia and we know that figure will grow by at least 40 per cent by 2025.
"These figures are very, very worrying because of the demand it will place on health and social care services in the future.
"That's why campaigns like this are important – to help people get early diagnosis of the condition.
"The current worldwide figures show that someone gets dementia every seven seconds, every three minutes in the UK.
"It is like a tsunami coming up the beach and the World Health Organisation has said it is an epidemic."
Mr Sherriff is urging the public to attend an event on Friday, being led by the Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance, to find out more.
"The work the alliance is carrying is out is in line with the Prime Minister's challenge to have 15 towns, cities or parishes dementia-friendly by 2015," he said. "Plymouth is currently well down the road and on the lead in this challenge. I think we will be the first of the 15 dementia-friendly places.
"I look forward to discussing issues around early diagnosis and ways to seek help.
"People in the city need to get behind the campaign to ensure those who are displaying signs of dementia get an early diagnosis which leads to them gaining support to live well afterwards. It's important to support people within our own community."
The conference event takes place at Devonport Guildhall from 11am.
Plymouth Moor View MP Alison Seabeck will be the keynote speaker and the day will mark the alliance's successes so far, as well as demonstrating the training on offer to organisations that sign up.
Around 100 organisations and businesses will be asked at the event to support Plymouth's aim of becoming a dementia-friendly city.