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Post People: Battling dementia at an early stage in Barking and Dagenham

PUBLISHED: 13:09 15 May 2017

David Morris fights for greater understanding of dementia in Barking and Dagenham Picture: David Morris

David Morris fights for greater understanding of dementia in Barking and Dagenham Picture: David Morris

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David Morris, 37, tells Sebastian Murphy-Bates how he helps dementia sufferers and their families with his work for the Alzheimer’s Society at the Broad Street Health Centre

“As somebody who has personal experience of family members with dementia, I wanted to make a difference to those with dementia and their carers.

“I’ve seen how difficult things can get and how isloated people can become and I understand the importance of good support.

“My auntie and uncle had dementia and now my nan is living with it. It can come on quite slowly, it’s not like it always appears over night so you can get used to somebody being a little bit slower in responses and getting things wrong.

“Different people react in different ways. My uncle was very energetic and charismatic and got round it by making jokes. But my nan’s a bit more introverted and doesn’t have the ability to cover it up. Some people kid themselves into thinking it’s just a part of getting old.

“Routine and familiarity is important, being out of your comfort zone if you’ve got dementia can set you back for months. But when you feel safe, have an emotional connection and feel comfortable the dementia can be less evident.

“In my role as operations manager for north east London, I aim to make sure the services we have for people with dementia are sustainable, but I also campaign for greater awareness and less stigma.

“We’ve come a long way in 30 years and it’s rare to hear derogatory terms like ‘senile dementia’ being used. But we work in a very diverse part of the country and in some minority communities the stigma is even greater. Some languages don’t have a word for dementia so they use words like ‘madness’. The knock-on effect is that, because it’s not spoken about, people don’t seek help until the later stages of dementia. It’s important to diagnoses at an early stage to increase support.

“If a person notices their loved one or friend not behaving as they used to, they can call our memory serivce at the health centre in Dagenham on 0300 555 1016.”

Dementia Awareness Week runs from May 14, click here for more information.

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