Monday, 9 March 2015

A Thief

I never really know how much of my life to share online.

Over the last six months or so, my family have been dealing with the degenerative illness of a loved one. While I'm fortunate enough for this not to be one of my parents, my mum isn't quite so lucky.

Over the last six months, I've listened, watched and admired the way she, and her sisters, have dealt with the very worst of circumstances, circumstances I pray I never experience first-hand. 

I couldn't be prouder and more in awe of my mum's strength, resilience and dignity. 

She is truly a remarkable woman. 

While I've chosen not to share the specifics on this ongoing situation, I do want to  share with you a few facts and helpful links in case you're concerned about a loved one...

Dementia describes a set of symptoms that can include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. There are more than 100 different types of dementia, but Alzheimer's disease is the most common type, affecting 62% of those diagnosed, which is almost 417,000 people. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases (such as Alzheimer's) or a series of strokes.

According to Alzheimer’s Society, by 2025 over one million people in the UK will be diagnosed with dementia. This figure will rise to 1.7 million by 2051! Even more shocking is the cost of dementia care – the disease costs the country £17 billion every year, or £539 a second. However, unpaid carers save the economy £6 billion a year.

A couple of weeks ago,  the Office of National Statistics announced that dementia and Alzheimer's are the leading cause of death in women over 80, accounting for 17% of deaths! It was also the second leading cause for men, causing 11% of deaths in men over 80. It seems although we're now living longer, our minds are paying the price.  

At the moment, there is no cure for dementia or Alzheimer's disease, and sadly, there are no proven ways to delay or even prevent the development of either. However, it is recommended that you:
  • eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight
  • exercise regularly 
  • don't smoke
  • don't drink too much alcohol
  • make sure to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level (from 120 over 80 to 140 over 90)
  • learn new things and keep mentally active
  • establish a regular sleep pattern

Thankfully the Alzheimer's Society is researching into prevention, treatment and cures for this thief horrendous condition that slowly erases your loved one long before their body has left this mortal coil. I hope they're successful sooner rather than later, because this thief barges its way into families and steals the most precious of things.

To find out more about dementia or Alzheimer's disease, visit www.alzheimers.org.uk  
Alternatively, you can call the National Dementia Helpline on 0845 300 0336.

Please share this post with as many of your friends, family and loved ones as you can.
 

2 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear that your mum is facing something so sad, heartbreaking and hard. x

    ReplyDelete