. . . . I can prevent dementia, I think I just might scream!
It feels like every week the media is sharing an extract from research that is looking into causes of dementia and/or memory loss. I find it really irritating.
My irritation stems from the fact the media only ever shares half the story, from the fact the studies their headlines shout about are often on less than 100 people, and most important from the fact my dad did everything that is currently being recommended, and yet still has Alzheimers. What is worse is that even the NHS websites get in on this act. NHS Choices state that to reduce your risk of developing dementia and other serious health conditions, it’s recommended that you
- eat a healthy diet
- maintain a healthy weight
- exercise regularly
- don’t drink too much alcohol
- stop smoking (if you smoke)
- keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.
Typical blanket health advice that whilst I accept is good to follow and something we all should aim for, it is not the panacea for avoiding dementia. I would also challenge the NHS to demonstrate evidence on exactly how much it reduces the risk of dementia.
The problem is that dementia research is still in its infancy, and we’ve got a long way to go before we properly understand the brain and the causes of dementia. So whilst all this research is happening I think it would be more helpful if the media shared the positive news about how you can live well with dementia, and promoted helpful advice and information for carers on how to better cope and manage. Dementiaville was one of those positive stories, I wish there was more about the work Dementia Care Matters and other organisations are doing to make a difference to the the lives of people living with or caring for someone with dementia.
What I would like to see in the media is an honest and wide reflection of what it is like to live with dementia, advice and information for those caring for someone with dementia and a campaign for properly funded research to help the many of us who are going to develop dementia in the future.