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Latest Bexley dementia figures ‘tip of the iceberg’ says councillor

PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 July 2018

The latest figures for people living with dementia in Bexley are “just the tip of the iceberg” according to council experts. Picture: John Stillwell/PA images

The latest figures for people living with dementia in Bexley are “just the tip of the iceberg” according to council experts. Picture: John Stillwell/PA images

PA/Press Association Images

The latest figures for people living with dementia in Bexley are “just the tip of the iceberg” according to council experts.

Spotting the condition early was given as one of the best ways to tackle the priority issue in the borough as a health and wellbeing meeting on July 23 was given an update on how Bexley’s “dementia challenge” is being managed.

Previous estimates suggesting a 10 per cent increase of over-65s being diagnosed with dementia were too low, an expert has warned.

There has been evidence of an upwards trend in cases of dementia in Bexley, and it’s thought there will be an increase of 45 per cent in over-65’s living with the condition.

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Laura Williams, head of integrated commissioning for older people said, “Dementia is a priority for the health and well-being strategy.”

New proposals focussing on raising awareness and supporting those with dementia were signed off earlier this year.

The plans were in response to the growing number of over-65s with dementia, which is estimated to be at least 3,180 people by 2020.

Nationally, one in 14 people over 65 will develop dementia, and the condition affects one in six people over 80.

Ms Williams went on: “We want to deliver a system of change for people living with dementia.

“The key, and this for every long-term condition, is the identification of dementia.

“The focus is on frail older people with undiagnosed dementia from being caught in the revolving door of hospital.

“It’s about looking for suspected or confirmed memory problems, sometimes it isn’t obvious. Hidden things might prove that they will come to us in crises when we otherwise wouldn’t expect them to.

“We are also focussing on residents and carers living in their own homes to remain independent. One of the things we are looking at is the Community Dementia project – an integrated approach with Bexley Care. This aims to use specialists to work with social care workers to look at flexible ways to have people stay at home.

“We want to look at how we manage behaviour. There are behaviours that are difficult, but its about us learning how to manage that.”

The dementia challenge is being tackled through the red bag scheme – which has patients equipped with a bag with all their vital information, resulting in a reduced hospital stay.

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