Living with dementia.
21 September is World Alzheimer’s Day, a key date in a month-long awareness raising campaign that Age in Spain is supporting.
One in nine people over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s, usually – though not always – requiring adjustment in lifestyle, not only for the person with this form of dementia, but for their partner, family, and friends.
In a sense, Alzheimer’s touches us all, since the risk of any of us developing it increases the longer we live beyond the age of 65. And early-onset dementia is often due to Alzheimer’s.
Age in Spain’s mission is to help older people live as full a life as possible in our adopted country, so we want to be fully involved in a campaign that addresses that older age group, together with their families.
The theme for World Alzheimer’s Day is ‘Knowledge is Power’. Knowing how to spot early signs of dementia, knowing what to do about it, and knowing how to speak to a person with dementia can help us all cope better with a distressing situation. And there are many things that can be done to ensure that the person with dementia still enjoys life.
For three days from 21st September our website will host interviews, videos and articles to help deepen understanding of all forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s. We aim to give you the knowledge you need to feel empowered.
Visit our website and our Facebook Page each day to learn something more and meet people with experience of treating and living with dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Join us in supporting world-wide efforts on World Alzheimer’s Day.
Here are three short videos by gerontologist Shannon Martin to guide us through key issues when living with dementia.
Shannon is a qualified Social Worker and Gerontologist with 25 years experience of working in different care settings with people with dementia. She first presented these videos for our 2021 Dementia Awareness week - and they are back by popular demand.
Shannon lives in Spain and in her very limited spare time, is an Age in Spain Friendline volunteer, providing a weekly friendship call to her Friendline member.
(You can read more about Friendline here)
Learn how to recognize dementia – in ourselves or others. A twenty-minute video that might make a world of difference to you – or someone you know.
How to make the home safe and comfortable for a person with dementia
How to cope with repeated questions
Here we share original articles written by Age in Spain contributors to raise awareness of the key issues that society needs to address.
It is time to improve services for those with dementia
Learning the lessons of the pandemic
By John Rafferty
John Rafferty lives in Santiago de Compostela and is the former Chairman of the Central Scotland Health Care NHS Trust and the South West London and Saint Georges Mental Health NHS Trust. He is an active volunteer and President of Age in Spain.
Dementia, the silent epidemic – a family doctor calls for change
By Dr Francisco Javier Ayape Amigot, Family Physician
Santiago de Compostela
The Alzheimer’s Association Spain states that currently more than 800,000 people are living with Alzheimers disease in Spain. In this insightful article a family doctor describes the scales of the challenges facing dementia sufferers, their families and those who care for them.
Other Age in Spain dementia articles and resources
Technology for dementia help - by Kay Caldwell September 2022
Are you being proactive on dementia? - by Margaret Mackay September 2022
Questions to ask if you think someone might have dementia - by Shannon Martin September 2021
For our full range of dementia resources type dementia in the search box at the top of the page.
Help from Age in Spain
Are you living with dementia, or know someone who is?
We are regularly contacted by people who are living with dementia - especially carers - who may be living with their family member or who live away and are trying to support their loved one as best they can. We are not dementia specialists but we can help you with information and signposting, so that you can make the best choices for your situation and access available services.
Our Infoline service is your point of entry for one to one information and help with accessing general services and support. You can email or phone our trained volunteer Infoline assistants, who will give you the time and support to work through your needs and find available support options.
In more complex situations, our Casework Support Service provides additional specialist help. See this video featuring our Casework Manager Kayte Locke, who talks about how we help and common issues that people experience. In the first instance, you need to contact the Infoline.
Dementia support information and resources
There are many specialist organisations worldwide, which provide information and support services for people living with dementia. Here is a small selection from those with information (mainly) in English.
This organisation has a wide range of useful videos and resources in their free online dementia carers centre. They have a new text support service for holders of UK phones too.
Age UK (UK)
Excellent dementia guides and factsheets aimed at older people and their carers and directory of local Age UK organisations
Alzheimer's Association (International)
information and resources in English, Spanish and links to national Alzheimer's Associations worldwide
The Spanish Alzheimer Confederation represents the many dementia organisations in Spain. (Site in Spanish).
This website provides details of official Spanish government and non-government welfare organisations as well as many others in the voluntary sector to help English speakers who live in Spain. Useful tool to find out what's available in your locality.
We are adding new material to this page regularly, so check in again soon.
If you have resources that you think would be helpful to add here, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
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Back by popular demand.
Back by popular demand – a link to the You Tube interview with Doctor Lucy Pollock. We posted this link last year during our dementia awareness campaign and it was so well liked that we’re posting it again. A diagnosis of dementia is not a normal part of the ageing process, but nor does it mean the end of life and relationships as we know them. Doctor Pollock tells us how to be old.
In a gentle and reassuring way, often with humour, she tells us how to deal with dementia in our parents and friends. How to deal with falls which often threaten a person’s confidence about living on their own. When does forgetfulness really become a problem? We all go up the stairs sometimes and forget why. That’s normal. But how can we tell what is not normal in memory loss?
At the heart of her approach is a strong belief that older people have wisdom and perspective and there is always something to be learned from them. She understands, too, that dementia sufferers want to preserve their own dignity and make decisions for themselves.
And it’s topical. Later this month, Dr Pollock is hosting a Guardian masterclass on the topic of her book, The Book About Getting Older which Sandi Toksvig described as ‘the most important book about the second half of your life that you’ll ever read.’