Call to diagnose dementia as we would cancer

Dementia Friends and support workers from Wigan Central Day Centre, Jackie Taylor, left, and Susan Speakman, right, try out twiddle muffs
Dementia Friends and support workers from Wigan Central Day Centre, Jackie Taylor, left, and Susan Speakman, right, try out twiddle muffs

Dementia campaigners are demanding the condition gets the same treatment from medics as cancer.

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) has been described as “the worst bits of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s put together” according to staff at Sunshine House, who have been doing their bit to raise the profile of the second most common age-related dementia which may account for up to 15% of all dementia cases.

As well as the common dementia symptoms such as memory loss, spatial awareness problems and decreased problem solving skills, there are also some more specific symptoms associated with the disease that are also associated with Parkinson’s dementia.

These include: unpredictable changes in alertness, attention and confusion, slowed movement and muscle stiffness, sleep disturbances and even hallucinations.

Jacqueline Cannon, project manager and vice-chair of the Wigan Dementia Action Alliance, (DAA) said dementia diagnosis needed to be more specific.

She told the Wigan Post: “If you’re diagnosed with cancer, you don’t just leave with that news.

“You need to know what type of cancer it is.

The 53-year-old from Billinge, who also sits on the board of the National DAA added: “It’s the same with dementia.

With the right diagnosis, you can get the right treatment.

“Lewy body dementia can result in hallucinations, so people need to be prescribed specific hallucinogenic medication.”

A kindhearted donation of hand-knitted twiddle muffs – designed to comfort and occupy dementia sufferers – was sent to staff at Wigan’s Central Day Centre and distributed amond people who use the centre.

For more information about DLB, visit alzheimers.org.uk.