Journal reporter and MP's dementia calls

IMAGINE a scenario where you go to see a relative and upon arrival at their home, they vaguely recognise your face but have no idea what you are called. For Exmouth Journal reporter Graham Britton, whose grandmother suffers from dementia, that scenario is

IMAGINE a scenario where you go to see a relative and upon arrival at their home, they vaguely recognise your face but have no idea what you are called.

For Exmouth Journal reporter Graham Britton, whose grandmother suffers from dementia, that scenario is a reality.

More than 600,000 people in the UK have the condition which causes the loss of mental abilities such as being able to think. It is predicted that one million people will develop the illness by 2019.

Symptoms can also include changes in personality, mood and behaviour.


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The Alzheimer's Research Trust and Alzheimer's Society last week called for the Government to triple its annual investment in dementia research.

The charities claimed just two per cent of medical studies was currently being spent on researching the condition. Twenty-eight-year-old Graham welcomed the calls.

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He said: "Since my grandmother, Margaret, developed the condition, caring for her has evoked the hypothesis that services for people with dementia, sadly at the moment is a case of postcode lottery.

"Dementia services seem to be better in some areas than others.

"Until earlier this year, Margaret was staying in a residential home where none of the carers were trained in dealing with people with the condition.

"Her illness has become worse in the last few months. And, as can be the case with symptoms of dementia sufferers, she would go through a spate of aggressive periods.

"She would literally throw food away when carers would try to feed her.

"Because they weren't used to that kind of behaviour, the home's manager had no choice but to recommend alternative accommodation was sought.

"This then presented the predicament of where could she go if there aren't many care homes who have dementia specialists among their staff."

East Devon MP Hugo Swire said he was extremely disappointed that only two per cent of the Government's medical research budget was spent on understanding the condition.

He added: "It is time that we place dementia research at the forefront of our health priorities.

"Additionally, the number of those suffering from the condition puts a huge pressure on carers of whom there are a large number up and down the country.

"They are often unacknowledged and their care and commitment under appreciated - they too are victims.

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