Work to help people with dementia as figures show 2,000 people in South Tyneside have the condition
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More than 2,000 people live with dementia in South Tyneside, while 52% of the UK public will know someone who has been diagnosed with dementia.
The 2019 statistics were provided at this week’s Riverside Community Area Forum (CAF), where South Tyneside councillors were given an update on support work being done on the topic.
Maria Scurfield spoke from the “Nursing Dementia” project, carried out by Churches Together South Tyneside, on the vital work they are doing to strive to educate groups, especially children, on the intergenerational issue.
She said: “My idea is to get through to children now and talk about dementia awareness, because they probably will know that grandparents or somebody has got dementia.
“We really need to take the stigma of dementia away from that.”
Cllr Lynne Proudlock, chair of the Riverside CAF, said dementia can be “truly awful”.
She said: “It’s awful dementia, because you just see them disappearing, physically they’re still there, but inside you just think, they’re disappearing.”
However Ms Scurfield, a retired mental health nurse, with 40 years of experience working with people with dementia, said it doesn’t need to be a “devastating thing”.
She said: “It’s really difficult, because I know the challenges dementia has on each person and I know a lot of carers will feel things like; it’s out of my hands, and the person’s changed and it’s a devastating thing.
“It needn’t be a devastating thing, that’s the kind of the message that I really want to get out, I know everybody’s turn with dementia is totally different and it depends on the support that person gets.
“If everybody in communities can look in terms of awareness about what you can do, then that will make that person’s journey a little bit better.”
She added key to this can be carrying out various sensory activities, such as creating memory boxes.
The Nurturing Dementia project is being funded throughout a community foundation grant for a one-year programme, running until March next year.