This week is Dementia Awareness Week. It marks the first anniversary of my father’s death from young onset Alzheimer’s disease aged 66, and the third of my five fundraising marathons for YoungDementia UK.
Do something positive in Dementia Awareness Week! By running 5 marathons in 3 months – 131 miles in total – I am aiming to raise over £3000 for YoungDementia UK. Donations can be made via my justgiving page.
Or you can help me support this great cause by texting ELIZ55 £5 (or £1, £2, £3, £10) to 70070.
There are an estimated 64,000 people in the UK with young onset dementia (Dementia 2010, Alzheimer’s Research Trust): people affected by dementia under the age of 65. Many people with young onset dementia are still working and have financial commitments such as a mortgage, and dependent children. There is a considerable emotional impact as they have to adjust their plans for the future and deal with the stigma attached to having the condition. They are often much more active and physically fit and the majority of social care and support available does not meet their needs.
My father started to have problems with his memory when he was 44 years old and working as a primary school headteacher. He took early retirement six years later with stress but it is clear now that it was the beginning of his dementia. He was eventually formally diagnosed at the age of 56. Younger people with dementia and their families tend to fall through the cracks, both in terms of service provision and support. This is why YoungDementiaUK is especially important. YoungDementia UK enables younger people and their families to live well with dementia. It offers a welcoming community and a network of support to give everyone involved the best quality of life, from diagnosis to beyond bereavement. It also provides face-to-face support for people in the Oxfordshire region, where the charity is based.