Dementia is ‘not taken seriously’ in region

Dementia is the most joked-about medical condition in the region, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.

In a poll commissioned by the charity, 22% of people in the East Midlands say they hear jokes about dementia more than other medical problems.

The YouGov poll also found that 11% of the 2087 surveyed believed that it is acceptable to joke about the condition.

34% thought it’s acceptable to say someone with dementia is “having a senior moment” or that they have “lost their marbles” (11%).

The survey also found out that people often hear jokes from comedians (21%), family or friends (17%), or television (12%).

55,000 people suffer from dementia in the region and, according to Lincolnshire County Council, it is believed 3500 (and many more unmedicated) are in the county.

Meanwhile, only 5% people hear autism jokes, and just 3% regarding cancer.

The survey was released to mark Dementia Awareness Week, and also discovered that 55% in the East Midlands felt dementia was not taken seriously enough.

It also highlighted that despite improvements in awareness to the condition, there is still a stigma attached.

Ian Howarth, Alzheimer’s Society Area Manager for the East Midlands, said: “It is shocking that people think it’s acceptable to make jokes about people with a serious medical condition like dementia.

“This can be devastating for those affected and can have a huge impact on their confidence, possibly causing them to withdraw from society.

“It’s essential that stigma against dementia is reduced to enable people to continue to lead as full a life as possible after their diagnosis.”

Head of Adult Commissioning at Lincolnshire County Council Richard Collins said: “Lincolnshire County Council do not feel that Dementia, or any other condition, impairment or disability are laughing matters.

“We would hope that people are more understanding about a devastating condition that seriously effects over 3500 people and their families across Lincolnshire.

“Lincolnshire County Council and its partners takes Dementia very seriously.

“We aim to ensure that individuals have choice from a range of services, whether that be traditional residential services or community-based services.

“We continue to work together with people with Dementia, Carers, families, partners and providers to find and provide appropriate opportunities to prevent, reable and support.”

Awareness

Dementia Awareness Week is currently promoting “Remember the Person“, encouraging people to look beyond dementia and engage with sufferers.

“With the right help and support people with dementia can have a good quality of life and friends and family have a huge role to play in this,” Howarth added.

As part of the week, Lincoln County Hospital opened a new quiet room, letting patients and relatives get away for the hustle and bustle of the Emergency Assessment Unit.

Champion in Dementia Care and Junior Sister at Lincoln County Hospital Kate Hetherington-Field, said:

“As dementia champion I established that we desperately needed to provide an appropriate quiet area for all patients, but particularly for people living with dementia and their relatives.”

Photo: Hazel McHaffe