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Two-thirds of Northern Ireland dementia patients left feeling isolated

By Amanda Ferguson

Published 01/01/2016

Half of us also mistakenly believe that once a person with dementia stops recognising loved ones, they get little benefit from spending time with them
Half of us also mistakenly believe that once a person with dementia stops recognising loved ones, they get little benefit from spending time with them

Almost two-thirds of people with dementia in Northern Ireland feel isolated after being diagnosed, research has revealed.

Half of us also mistakenly believe that once a person with dementia stops recognising loved ones, they get little benefit from spending time with them.

The findings, from a survey by Alzheimer's Society, prompted the charity to call on people to make a New Year's resolution to spend time with people with dementia and help them take part in activities they enjoy.

The charity said that after the festive period, people with the condition and those who care for them may face long, dark days until they next spend time socialising or get out of the house.

As the condition progresses, many sufferers may find it difficult to recognise friends and family members, but they still hold an "emotional memory" that means they continue to feel happy long after a visit or experience they may have forgotten.

Spending time with loved ones is important because it can stimulate feelings of familiarity, happiness, comfort and security.

Staying connected and taking part in activities also helps people with dementia feel less isolated.

Bernadine McCrory, Northern Ireland operations director at the Alzheimer's Society, said this could be a hard time of the year.

"After spending time with friends and family over the festive period, the New Year can be a bleak and lonely time for people with dementia and their carers," she added.

"It's so important for people with dementia to feel connected throughout the year.

"Spending time with loved ones and taking part in meaningful activities can have a powerful and positive impact, even if they don't remember the event itself.

"We're urging people to get in touch to find out how we can help you stay connected through our local support services across Northern Ireland."

Alzheimer's Society research shows that in the year ahead, around 850,000 people in the UK will be living with dementia.

For support or more information, contact the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 11 22 or visit alzheimers.org.uk

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