Dementia talk aims to tackle local care fears

CONCERN over the level of support on Bute for people with dementia and their families led to a presentation to members of the island’s community council this week.

Dot Gordon, the local support worker with Alzheimer Scotland, spoke at the April BCC meeting after fears were expressed that a growing number of island residents were caring for friends or family with little or no help from the authorities.

Mrs Gordon told BCC members that 85 people on Bute had been diagnosed with some form of dementia as of January 2012, and that there were 84,000 diagnoses across Scotland, plus a high number of undiagnosed cases.

It has been estimated that a further seven thousand people will be diagnosed each year.

Mrs Gordon said: “Some people are confused by what dementia actually is. I should explain that it is an umbrella term for a number of different conditions, with the most common being Alzheimer’s.

“People with dementia may experience confusion, struggle with communication, and it is important to note there are also a number of psychological problems which can develop as a result.

“Being unable to remember people’s names or how to do day-to-day things can bring on depression, and the person might withdraw from social contact with others.”

Mrs Gordon, who will soon be working solely on Bute, is employed by Alzheimer Scotland as part of a community dementia team, and was appointed in 2012 for Cowal and Bute, providing support and advice for those with the condition, as well as their families and carers.

The team also includes a community psychiatric nurse on the island two days a week, a consultant, social worker, occupational therapist and therapy assistant.

“It’s a comprehensive system which offers referrals from all kinds of people,” Mrs Gordon continued. “Anyone can refer to us if they are concerned about family, friends or neighbours.

“We want to keep people as well as possible, in their own homes, for as long as possible.

“We really want to raise awareness of dementia, to educate people, and to be a point of contact.”