Health services ‘well-equipped’ to deal with dementia numbers

Mary Backhouse.

Mary Backhouse. - Credit: Archant

MORE than 100 new cases of dementia have been diagnosed in North Somerset in the past year, making the area one of the most prevalent for the condition in the country.

Almost 2,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease within the district’s clinical commissioning group (CCG), which is expected to affect more than one million people nationally within a decade.

That figure means 0.83 per cent of people locally have contracted dementia, the 16th highest figure in the country.

Chief clinical officer for North Somerset CCG Dr Mary Backhouse said the area was ‘well-equipped’ to deal with dementia cases, being one of the only areas in England to have adopted a dementia care roadmap, and working with voluntary organisations and the Alzheimer’s Society to provide support.

Of the 800,000 people with dementia in the UK, more than 780,000 are over 65, and North Somerset also has among the largest population of people aged 80 and over.

Dr Backhouse said: “One of the challenges facing the county’s health and care system is the prevalence of dementia amongst our elderly residents, with one in three over the age of 65 expected to develop a form of it.

“We are well-equipped in North Somerset for helping our residents with dementia and their carers. For example, we are one of only a few pilot areas in England which has built a dementia care roadmap which provides, amongst many other things, a guide to local services and support.

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“Through our hospitals and GP practices we aim to diagnose cases at the earliest possible stage, we work with The Alzheimer’s Society on providing a support worker service in many of our GP surgeries, and are fortunate to have many local voluntary organisations providing carer support.

“To reduce the risk of developing dementia it is most important to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle and to keep yourself mentally stimulated throughout the later years of life. If anyone is worried that they are showing the first signs of dementia they should see their GP.”