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West Suffolk: Solicitor is keen to get us talking about dementia

PUBLISHED: 08:26 04 June 2014 | UPDATED: 09:22 04 June 2014

Nigel George.

Nigel George.

Archant

A solicitor from west Suffolk is keen to get people to open up about dementia to increase understanding and reduce fear of the illness.

Nigel George – known as the village solicitor – has co-produced a guide called Let’s Talk about Dementia with Atkins Thomson solicitors, which has an office in Bury St Edmunds.

Mr George, from Woolpit, has brought his growing interest in dementia and end of life care together with his company Ageing with Optimism, which also has a social enterprise element to it.

In March West Suffolk Hospital launched the Forget-Me-Not campaign in partnership with the East Anglian Daily Times and its sister title The Mercury to raise £25,000 to enhance its support for patients with dementia.

Mr George said he is keen to get people talking about dementia before they actually have it.

“One of the things we are trying to persuade a lot more people to do is make health and welfare powers of attorney which means if you do develop dementia your attorneys, normally your children, can discuss it with your doctor without the doctor saying ‘sorry, patient confidentiality means I cannot talk about it’.”

Mr George, who is a ‘dementia champion’ with the Alzheimer’s Society, is also keen to make people aware that no two cases of dementia are the same.

“I think there’s so much ignorance about dementia. People tend to have this picture of an elderly person sitting in a chair with a vacant look in their eyes and not being able to communicate.”

He said dementia developed in different ways for different people, and a person with the illness could still have a “pretty decent quality of life for a number of years”.

“It’s increasing people’s knowledge and helping to reduce the fear (of dementia),” he said.

He suspects his own father had Dementia with Lewy bodies, yet it was only diagnosed as Parkinson’s disease at the time. People with Lewy body dementia can experience hallucinations or problems with concentration and it can also affect the physical control of limbs.

For a copy of the free guide Let’s Talk about Dementia call Mr George on 01449 737582 or visit www.ageingwithoptimism.com

To support the Forget-Me-Not campaign, you can donate online at www.justgiving.com/forgetmenotcampaign or in person at any of the EADT offices.Alternatively, readers who would like to organise their own fundraising events for the appeal can contact Dave Gooderham on 01284 712952 or dave.gooderham@wsh.nhs.uk

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