Annual Charity Appeal: Understanding More About Dementia

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Each year the Society’s President chooses the focus for our Annual Charity
Appeal.  Our 2015/2016 charity, chosen by our President Linda Levett, is Alzheimer’s Research UK. 

Alzheimers Charity article

Whilst fundraising is a crucial part of our support for the charity, we have also been working with Alzheimer’s Research UK to help raise awareness and understanding of dementia. 

So with this in mind, we’ve put together some of the key facts about dementia and the work Alzheimer’s Research UK is doing to find a cure.

Dementia is not well understood

Misperceptions surround the condition: many people believe it’s a natural part of old ageing, and that it’s not serious – it’s ‘just a bit of memory loss’. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The word ‘dementia’ describes the symptoms that occur when brain cells stop working properly, symptoms which can include:

  • memory loss (the most recognised symptom)
  • problems with spatial awareness
  • personality changes
  • language difficulties

As damage to the brain spreads, symptoms worsen and eventually physical functions such as walking and swallowing can be affected.

There are currently no treatments to affect the underlying diseases.

It doesn’t only affect older people

Dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing, nor does it only affect older people.

Of the 850,000 people with dementia in the UK,
around 40,000 are under 65.

Alzheimer’s Research UK Champion Amanda Franks knows this only too well: her mum Cathy was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease when she was just 58, a diagnosis that turned their lives upside down.

Amanda’s dad cared for Cathy for five years, but when her violent behaviour and hallucinations – both symptoms of the disease – became too challenging, the family took the difficult decision to move her into a care home. The disease has also impacted on Amanda’s 12-year-old son Dan, who has always been close to his Nan and has had to come to terms with the way dementia has changed her.

The work of Alzheimer’s Research UK

As well as funding research, an important part of the task at Alzheimer’s Research UK is to help people understand that dementia is caused by diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s, which attack the brain. This year they launched #sharetheorange, to help demonstrate that dementia is a condition we can defeat:

It is known that one in three children born this year may develop dementia during their lifetimes if we don’t tackle the condition. But through research, we can shape a different future – one where families like Amanda’s are free from the heartbreak of dementia.

That’s why the support Alzheimer’s Research UK receive from us is so important. They rely on donations to be able to fund their vital research and only support the highest quality studies with the greatest potential to make an impact for people with dementia.

Initiatives such as:

  • The Drug Discovery Alliance, working to translate promising findings into future treatments
  • Their Research Network which unites 1,000 of the brightest dementia scientists across the UK

None of this would be possible without the dedication of supporters at Foresters Friendly Society who have demonstrated amazing commitment to this cause. Members and staff have run marathons, held raffles, and even tackled the Yorkshire Three Peaks as part of the drive to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

How can you help?

For more information on the work that Alzheimer’s Research UK carry out, please visit the Alzheimer’s Research UK website.

As we reach the final few weeks of our partnership, we’re keen to boost the drive for donations, so if you’d like to support Alzheimer’s Research UK and the amazing work they do, you can do so by visiting our donation page.