By this time next year, let’s double Dementia Friends

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My grandmother used to say she wasn’t afraid of dying. But what she was afraid of, as the years passed, was losing her mind.

She was talking about dementia, of course.

No-one is left to fend for themselves and there is care available to them every step of the way

My grandmother, the excellent Nellie, was a very determined lady.

But whether she would or, as it happened, wouldn’t get dementia, was always going to be outside of her control.

National Dementia Awareness Week was last week and, thanks to campaigns like The News’ Take Care Together, I’ve learned a lot about the condition.

Most important is the knowledge that people with dementia are definitely not alone.

I’m probably not the only one who sees the condition as a terrifying one; something to be feared and avoided at all costs.

But what I realised, reading the coverage last week, is that there are so many support services available to people with the condition and their families.

No-one is left to fend for themselves and there is care available to them every step of the way.

On a very basic level I didn’t know the difference between Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia or that, in fact, a small percentage of people can have both.

I also didn’t know about the many ways there are to prevent the onset of dementia and that, in fact, a healthy body can literally result in a healthy mind.

The News’ campaign is going to last a year and I hope, by this time next year, no-one living in our area with the disease ever feels alone.

There’s an easy way to learn more about dementia, and that’s to become a Dementia Friend.

An online course only lasts an hour, and there are face-to-face ones too, and at the end of the course you’ll be able to recognise the signs of dementia and understand how to help people with the condition.

That’s it, that’s all being a Dementia Friend involves.

Currently there are 1,416 in Portsmouth, 405 in Gosport, 662 in Fareham, 96 in Havant and 443 in Waterlooville.

How about by this time next year that number is doubled?