Dementia 'time-bomb' facing Suffolk

SUFFOLK is facing a dementia time bomb as the number of people diagnosed with the condition is expected to rise by 65% by 2025.

Naomi Cassidy

SUFFOLK is facing a dementia time bomb as the number of people diagnosed with the condition is expected to rise by 65% by 2025.

Due to a combination of factors including people living longer and the post-war baby boom generation reaching retirement age, the figures of those suffering from dementia is increasing nationally.

In Suffolk the problem is even worse, given the higher than average older population because of people coming to the county to retire.

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Latest figures show that the number of people diagnosed with dementia in Suffolk is due to rise from 9,870 in 2008 to 16,327 in 2025.

Daphne Savage, Age Concern Suffolk chief executive, said: “We know over the next two decades there will be a huge increase in the numbers of people over 80. Barring a cure, one in five people over 80 will have dementia and that is why we are thinking about it now.

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“Based on the projected figures, it is a worry. The key part has to be how to supply that low level cushion of support for those with dementia. It is about getting support from trained workers, making sure there is respite for carers, and just helping people keep their lives going.”

Cliff Horne, chairman of the Suffolk Pensioners Association, which is part of Anglia Region Pensioners Association, said: “We have got to make sure GPs are trained to recognise dementia so it is spotted early enough. It is going to be an ongoing problem and it is not going to get any easier. The problem is with funding long term care and that is a shadow that hangs over people.”

Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust has been working with groups including Suffolk Alzheimer's Society, Suffolk Family Carers, and Age Concern Suffolk, on a project called Respect for Dementia, which will be launched next month.

The project focuses on two diaries, based on the lives of more than 50 people living with dementia in Suffolk and the idea is to provide an insight into the illness and raise awareness. It will be launched in Ipswich at 10am on Thursday, July 9, to coincide with Dementia Awareness Week.

Following the publication of a national strategy on dementia, the local version by NHS Suffolk, Suffolk County Council and NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney is due to be released soon.

Anyone who would like to attend the event should call Gabriel Tamaya on 01473 329785. Places are limited.

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