I say this because that is the number of people in Northumberland who are currently living with dementia. One in three people over the age of 65 will develop dementia, and as a local MP, all too often I see first-hand the devastating impact the condition has - not only the person with dementia but their family, friends and carers too. The fact that there are more and more people locally who are living with dementia puts into perspective why there is a duty on us all, and society as a whole, to act.
Across the UK, on average less than half of those people have received a diagnosis. Diagnosis is the key that unlocks access to support services. There are many reasons why people may afraid to ask their GP for a diagnosis. They may feel scared, confused or even ashamed. But the sooner they know what they're dealing with, the sooner they can get on with their life and feel in control again.
That’s why Alzheimer’s Society – the charity behind Dementia Awareness Week – is using the week to encourage people to 'open up' and talk. They want anyone who is concerned to talk to their doctor, their family, but also to come and talk to Alzheimer's Society. I’m doing my bit for Dementia Awareness Week in Corbridge this week, and that is why I’m challenging readers to do the same.
A whole host of activities will be taking place across th region to make people aware of the help and support that is on offer if they are worried about their memory, or that of a loved one.
From becoming a Dementia Friend to spreading the word on social media, there are lots of small ways that we can all make a big difference for people in our local community this Dementia Awareness Week. Corbridge is leading the way as I will be seeing this week but other communities need to follow suit. There is much that we can do locally. There is much that you personally can do.
•Dementia Awareness Week 2014 runs from 18-24 May. Find out more at alzheimers.org.uk/daw2014. If you have any concerns about dementia, you can call Alzheimer’s Society’s National Dementia Helpline for confidential advice, information and support on 0300 222 11 22. You can also email enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org