A Leicester woman with dementia is highlighting the importance of getting the right help early on to people experiencing memory problems.
Irene Woodward (68) was forgetting daily tasks and routines on a regular basis and knew something was wrong. She took early action by making an appointment with her GP and is now living well with dementia thanks to an early diagnosis.
In an inspiring short video launched by NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) to mark Dementia Action Week, Irene talks of her dementia journey and how she has maintained her independence.
Irene said: “If you are having memory problems and have dementia an early diagnosis will help you keep it in the early stages.
“Eight out of 10 people I talk to either have or know somebody who has dementia. Normally you find that one of their relatives or friends has got it.
“I was terrified at first but my life hasn’t stopped and it won’t. I’ve been on a lot of holidays to actually experience going away and seeing how I could cope on my own. I’ve also become a befriender for someone else with dementia who is much more advanced than me and I love it.
“Don’t be afraid, you know it will get worse if you don’t get help. You can’t make it go away but you can help it.”
In the UK, one person develops dementia every three minutes and in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland there are more than 13,000 people living with dementia. This figure is expected to rise in the coming years.
Dr Girish Purohit, local GP at East Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Dementia Lead for LLR, added: “For many people, the person living with dementia will be their close relative, friend, or indeed themselves. It is really important for them to see their GP if they suspect they have dementia.
“Irene’s journey is truly inspiring and shows that an early diagnosis can help people to live well with the condition.”
Watch Irene’s dementia journey here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aCSqiGK8EI
During Dementia Action Week there are a number of free information events taking place in Rutland including:
Info stall for dementia support services: Co-op Supermarket, Burley Rd Oakham
Tea and cake at a Dementia Friends session: 2.30-4.30pm, Chater Lodge, High Street, Ketton
Age UK Coffee morning: Barowden Village Hall, Wakerley Road, Barrowden
Admiral Nurse information stall: 9am-3pm, Oakham Market
Admiral Nurse information stall: 9am-3pm, Uppingham Market