Dr Sujoy Mukerjee
Dr Sujoy Mukerjee
 

The G8 met in London on 11 December 2013 with Prime Minister David Cameron using the platform of the UK’s presidency of the summit to push forward with a coordinated international plan to address caring for the increasing population of elderly people with dementia .           

Dementia is a growing challenge for London as more and more of us live to old age. In the next year, 17,600 Londoners will be diagnosed with dementia. One thing is certain: early diagnosis is crucial so patients are empowered to plan ahead while they still have capacity, as well as enabling them and their families to get the help and support they need.

Lifestyle measures – such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy, balanced diet , moderating alcohol consumption and taking regular exercise – may help to delay onset or slow progress. Some people believe that improving what we call mental reserve - the brain’s ability to combat damage and loss of function as a result of changes in brain structure and processing - through education, mental exercise or specific brain training, may also delay the onset of dementia -- although the jury is still out.

The good news is there have been significant improvements in the care and treatment of dementia in London in the past couple of years. Rates of detection and referral have gone up. And there has also been a reduction in the use of antipsychotic drugs, sometimes inappropriately prescribed for behavioural and psychological symptoms, such as restlessness and shouting, which can often be managed without medication.

It’s important to focus on the things that people with dementia can do and their overall quality of life, rather than what they have lost. To this end we need a holistic approach that involves different agencies working together because dementia is much more than a mere medical condition.

The trust is running a number of trials which need volunteers who can make a difference to someone’s life with dementia. It’s a really exciting time to be involved in dementia research as we are working hard on finding solutions that could make a very real difference to people’s care and quality of life.

Anyone interested in joining the trials (over 40s without dementia or over 60s with dementia) as a volunteer to help find treatments and improve understanding please contact: wlm-tr.researchteam@nhs.net or phone: 020 8483 1833.