Helping families of Alzheimer’s victims

Ernie Thompson, Chairman of Action on Dementia Sunderland pictured centre wearing a grey jacket, was the guest speaker to the Happiness and Wellbeing Network meeting at the Museum and Winter Gardens on World Alzheimer's Day.  The event culminated in a walk through Mowbray Park.
Ernie Thompson, Chairman of Action on Dementia Sunderland pictured centre wearing a grey jacket, was the guest speaker to the Happiness and Wellbeing Network meeting at the Museum and Winter Gardens on World Alzheimer's Day. The event culminated in a walk through Mowbray Park.
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ALZHEIMER’S sufferers and their families gathered on Wearside in a bid to raise awareness of the disease.

About 750,000 people in the UK have dementia, with the numbers projected to rise to more than a million by 2021

This week, a series of presentations and advice workshops were arranged in the city to mark World Alzheimer’s Day.

Jackie Nixon, from the Happiness and Wellbeing Network, helped organise the event.

“We had a good response from the council, voluntary sector, carers as well as members of the public,” said the promoting health engagement lead. “It was a big success.”

Ernie Thompson, chairman of Action on Dementia Sunderland, was among guest speakers at the Museum and Winter Gardens.

“The main aim of the event was to raise awareness of the condition, how it affects people and their families, as well as promote the care and support that is available,” he said

Alzheimer’s is most common in people over 65 and affects slightly more women than men. It is estimated one in 14 pensioners is affected.

“There is certainly a lot more help out there than there used to be and we wanted to highlight those services,” said Mr Thompson.

Key issues covered at the event also included concerns over potential Government cutbacks.

The 75-year-old, from Ryhope, said: “There is a lot of concern over cuts to various services.

“Many groups feel they haven’t been given enough support in the past, so there is a worry it will become even more of a struggle.”

Mary Thompson, 62, whose father suffered from long-term Alzheimer’s, said she hoped more conferences like this could be held.

She said: “My dad developed the condition when he was just 61 and during the next eight years, deteriorated until he was unable to recognise me, my brother and sisters, or his wife.

“I lost a dad, my mum lost a husband and we ended up looking after someone we barely recognised.”

For more information about Action on Dementia Sunderland, call 07740 111182, visit actiondementiasunderland.co.uk or email actiondementiasunderland@gmail.com

Twitter: @Sunderlandecho