Did you know that there are over 50,000 people living with dementia in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, with 1,600 people living in Ipswich alone? It is likely that you know someone who has been affected by this disease and in some cases you may not even realise.

Dementia isn’t just about forgetting your telephone number or the name of your next door neighbour, it’s a disease caused by changes to the structure and chemistry of a person’s brain. 

Dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss, but can also cause difficulty concentrating, with thinking, planning, problem solving or communicating and having conversations. It can also have an impact on a person’s mood or behaviour.

Dementia doesn't just affect older people. Over 40,000 younger people in the UK have dementia. 

The Alxheimer's Society have a handy guide explaining '5 things you should know about dementia'. This booklet explains the following five points in more detail. 

  1. Dementia is not a natural part of ageing
  2. Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain
  3. It’s not just about losing your memory
  4. It’s possible to live well with dementia
  5. There’s more to a person than the dementia 

It can be downloaded here. 

What are the East of England Co-op doing?

As part of the work Joint Chief Executive, Minnie Moll is doing in her role as HRH Ambassador for Responsible Business in East Anglia, is looking at how we can improve awareness of what dementia is in the local area and how becoming a ‘dementia friend’ can truly help those living with the disease.

Part of the work that the East of England Co-op has been doing to create a better understanding of what dementia is and how it affect people, has been to offer training to all of the colleagues on becoming a dementia friend and identifying dementia in a retail environment. This has led us to working wiith local organisations such as the Ipswich Dementia Action Alliance (IDAA) to help make Ipswich a dementia friendly town.