Mem­ory walk high­lights de­men­tia

Bush Telegraph - - NEWS - By DONNA HED­LEY Man­ager Alzheimers Manawatu¯

Dan­nevirke will hold its first Mem­ory Walk on Thurs­day Septem­ber 20 to high­light the ef­fects of de­men­tia.

De­men­tia is a gen­eral term for a de­cline in men­tal abil­ity se­vere enough to in­ter­fere with daily life. Mem­ory loss is an ex­am­ple. Alzheimer’s is the most com­mon type of de­men­tia.

De­men­tia is a cruel and heart­break­ing dis­ease. It is vi­tally im­por­tant that those af­fected do not con­tinue to be marginalised by the stigma that is real and stops peo­ple from seek­ing help.

We must show peo­ple af­fected by de­men­tia that they re­mained val­ued and have ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion sup­port and ser­vices. If you are car­ing for some­one you love both you and they need help in or­der to live well through this jour­ney. Don’t let this dis­ease dis­able you any­more that it has to.

De­men­tia does not dis­crim­i­nate and Dan­nevirke is no ex­cep­tion to the grow­ing num­bers of peo­ple af­fected with spouses and fam­i­lies strug­gling to care. Un­til we re­duce the stigma at­tached to de­men­tia many peo­ple will strug­gle to live with this dis­ease.

The big­gest risk of de­vel­op­ing de­men­tia is age. Tararua has an age­ing pop­u­la­tion peo­ple over the age of 65 make up 18.2 per cent of the Dan­nevirke pop­u­la­tion. This fig­ure is set to in­crease by 75 per cent over the next 20 years.

De­men­tia af­fects all of the com­mu­nity. Peo­ple with de­men­tia are your loved ones, your neigh­bours, your pa­tients and your cus­tomers and un­til as a com­mu­nity we re­duce the stigma and in­crease aware­ness this dis­ease will rob us of so much more.

We can­not cure this dis­ease but we can cer­tainly fight back by open­ing our minds to dis­cussing this openly and be­com­ing aware as a com­mu­nity how each and ev­ery one of us can each make a dif­fer­ence.

There is a great deal of help avail­able for those ex­pe­ri­enc­ing de­men­tia. Alzheimers Manawatu¯ has sup­ported a hun­dred clients in the Dan­nevirke re­gion over the past year.

Alzheimers Manawatu¯ un­der­stands the need to have lo­cal ser­vices to sup­port the lo­cal peo­ple — this also helps sup­port­ers to sup­port each other. When peo­ple come to our ser­vice the peo­ple who they know (but did not know they needed our ser­vices) then sup­port each other.

Ev­ery Thurs­day from 10am3pm in the Dan­nevirke Band Rooms, paid and vol­un­tary staff of the Mar­ion Kennedy Cen­tre pro­vide a ther­a­peu­tic and so­cial stim­u­la­tion pro­gramme for peo­ple with de­men­tia. This in­volves games, en­ter­tain­ment and other ac­tiv­i­ties which help stave off the later stages of the dis­ease.

Var­i­ous en­ter­tain­ment groups are in­creas­ingly as­sist­ing on th­ese days. Mu­sic is a ma­jor stim­u­lant for those with de­men­tia, es­pe­cially groups singing the older songs like Dan­nevirke’s Lions Pride just four months ago.

It is im­por­tant to con­tact Alzheimers Manawatu¯ as early as pos­si­ble in the dis­ease, as so much can be done to re­duce the ef­fects. If you want to know more about the lo­cal ser­vices whether you need the ser­vice or want to help in any way con­tact 0800 004001

In the mean­time come and join the march on Thurs­day Septem­ber 20.

‘of De­men­tia af­fects all the com­mu­nity. Peo­ple with de­men­tia are your loved ones, your neigh­bours, your pa­tients and your cus­tomers . . .

Meet at the Town Hall Carpark at 11.30am. The march is not a long one but al­ready 150 lo­cals have reg­is­tered.

Mem­bers of Dan­nevirke Host Lion’s Lion’s Pride en­ter­tain at the Mar­ion Kennedy Club meet­ing in the Dan­nevirke Brass Band rooms Thurs­day May 3.

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