Giles Watling, Member of Parliament for Clacton, recently attended a Parliamentary drop-in session to learn more about dementia in Clacton. As part of NHS North East Essex CCG, there are an estimated 2621 people living with dementia in the area who have not yet received a diagnosis.

There are 850,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK and this number is expected to exceed one million within the next ten years. There is currently no treatment to slow, cure or prevent the disease, but if diagnosed early, there are greater opportunities for people and their loved ones to plan for their care and live well.

During the afternoon, there was the opportunity to speak to the team at Alzheimer’s Research UK about the ways people can reduce their risks of getting dementia or Alzheimer’s disease which include maintaining a healthy weight, keeping active, exercising regularly, and ensuring cholesterol and blood pressure are at a healthy level.

Dr Matthew Norton, Director of Policy at Alzheimer's Research UK, said

“Dementia is the greatest medical challenge of our time: with growing numbers of people developing the condition, there is an urgent need for new treatments and preventions. Our MPs have a vital role to play in keeping dementia on the government’s agenda, and we are delighted to see Mr Zeichner continuing to support research to defeat the condition and helping to raise public awareness. If we are to create a world where people are free from the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia, we must work together to channel our efforts towards that goal.”

Giles said

“During the drop in session I learnt more about the work that Alzheimer’s Research UK are carrying out to try and fund a cure for this disease. I also had an unsettling simulator experience to have an appreciation of the challenges an Alzheimer’s patient faces. It is not just memory loss patients suffer with, they also suffer with confusion and disorientation. It is so frightening for patients and their loved ones.  Sadly I have had experience of caring for my mother who during the last five years of her life increasingly suffered from this terrible disease.

Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease and with currently no cure we need to do all we can to reduce the risks of getting dementia. We also need to support those that are working relentlessly to find a cure.”