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Dementia Awareness Week - EPUT helps to raise awareness and improving support

Essex Partnership University NHS Trusts’ (EPUT) Dementia Intensive Support Team has supported an event at Colchester’s Community 360 to support Dementia Awareness Week - an annual event that aims to raise awareness of the condition and the support and care available.

Around 20,000 people are believed to be living with dementia in Essex and this number is likely to increase to around 25,000 in the next ten years.

On Monday (16 May) occupational therapists from our Dementia Intensive Support Team in Colchester took part in 'Better Brain Health', an event hosted by the Colchester Dementia Action Alliance and Community360.

The event, which took place between at the One Colchester Hub, Long Wyre Street Colchester on Monday 16th May from 10am to 2pm saw many people visit in a bid to find out more about the 12 potentially modifiable factors that are associated with developing dementia.

These factors, which come from The Lancet Commission report 2020 on dementia prevention, intervention and care, raises awareness to members of the public.

Helen Clegg, Engagement Officer at Community360, said: “The report produced by the lancet highlights the need to share and engage with the public about the 12 modifiable risk factors associated with developing dementia. It is estimated that 40 percent of dementia cases are potentially preventable.”

She added: “Factors such as hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, lack of exercise and even hearing impairments can be contributing factors. The emphasis on prevention needs to be heard because currently no effective treatments to either cure or prevent dementia have been found.

“There have been no pharmaceutical breakthroughs in the last 18 years. Pharmaceutical drugs available for dementia only help to temporarily reduce symptoms and slow progression of this non-communicable neurodegenerative disease.

“This event enabled us to share potential prevention strategies. We are learning that tactics to avoid dementia begin early and continue throughout life, so it's never too early or too late to take action and thereby perhaps lessen some of the fear associated with the condition.”

Shelley Myall, an EPUT Occupational Therapist who attended the event at the Community360, said the event was a great success.

She said: “The day was really well attended and although we are a post diagnosis service, we felt it was extremely important to support this event, raise awareness of Dementia and our service and forge links with outside agencies within the local community.

“At the event we focused on 'Living Well With Dementia' and spoke to people about the importance of early diagnosis, how to access support with this and offered information on local Dementia friendly groups and resources.

“As Occupational Therapists we believe that engagement in occupation and activities of daily living supports individual health and well-being and living with Dementia should not be a barrier to this.

“Maintaining a quality of life, social engagement and inclusion and living well is vital.  Often when people are diagnosed with Dementia, they can become low in mood, withdrawing from their family and friends and the day-to-day things they would normally engage in.  This affects confidence and self-esteem and in turn further negatively impacts upon their Dementia symptoms.”

Earlier this month EPUT also hosted a virtual event inviting colleagues to showcase local and national initiatives to improve care for people living with dementia.

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