See how Suffolk marked Dementia Awareness Week
Around 12,000 people in Suffolk are currently living with dementia, and that figure is expected to quadruple in the coming years.
According to a new study, an estimated 219,409 people in England and Wales will die from the condition by 2040, compared to 59,199 in 2014.
To mark Dementia Awareness Week (May 14-20), organisations in Suffolk have laid on a host of activities to get people talking about the illness and what can be done to help those affected.
The week kicked off with a trip to the seaside organised by the East of England Co-op, in partnership with the Ipswich and Felixstowe Dementia Action Alliances. The Ipswich Transport Museum provided a 1940s double decker bus to take people living with dementia and their carers to Felixstowe for some time at the beach followed by afternoon tea at The Orwell Hotel.
Ipswich Hospital held a meeting on Wednesday where Dr Jane Shoote, care of the elderly consultant, and dementia specialist nurse Kerry Day were on hand to answer questions and share information.
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Suffolk charity ActivLives took the opportunity to launch a number of new initiatives in Ipswich to benefit dementia patients, whose symptoms can include memory loss, hallucinations and changes in personality.
On Thursday, councillor Roger Fern, who is part of a drive to make Ipswich a ‘dementia friendly’ town, cut the ribbon at the charity’s new Garden for Older People as part of its ActivGardens project.
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The space at Chantry Walled Garden is especially designed to enable people who may rely on the use of a wheelchair or those with a life-limiting condition, such as dementia, to make friends and share their skills and ideas.
The charity also teamed up with the North West Ipswich Big Local Trust to open a new community cafe called Friday Friends.
Weekly sessions will run from Whitehouse Baptist Church for people living with dementia and their families and carers. It involves refreshments, a two-course lunch and activities.
A week-long initiative called ‘Reliving the Moment’ was held at Quay Place in Ipswich to help people diagnosed with dementia to reconnect with their past. Organised by David Jay of Alpha Film, it included poetry, singing, film, sports and exhibitions.
Activities were put on by Age UK Suffolk, Suffolk Artlink, ActivLives, Suffolk Mind, East of England Co-op, Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia Friends, Sue Ryder, Dementia Together, Ipswich Dementia Action Alliance, Music Mirrors, Suffolk Museums – Open the Doors.