Dementia helpline launched

Written by Scott Campbell. Scott Campbell
Published at 17:35 on 23 June 2012.
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Local Lanarkshire residents will now be able to access a newly launched helpline, providing advice and information about dementia, an illness which affects upwards of 60'000 people, in Scotland.
 
The new confidential helpline was launched earlier this week, to raise awareness of Dementia Awareness Week, as part of a Lanarkshire wide dementia awareness raising campaign and allows local people who are worried about changes to their memory, to discuss their concerns over the phone, ask for information and get links to local services and supports.
 
Dr Jennifer Borthwick, NHS Lanarkshire’s clinical director of older age psychiatry and chair of the multi-agency Dementia Strategy Implementation Group, said: “It is estimated that over 9000 people are living with dementia in Lanarkshire, and that this number will double over the next 25 years.
 
“By improving people’s understanding of the benefits of early diagnosis, we can encourage more people to seek help early.
 
She added: “This will enable them to receive treatment and support when it is likely to have the greatest benefit.”
 
The campaign is a joint venture, developed by NHS Lanarkshire, North and South Lanarkshire Councils, Alzheimer Scotland and NHS Health Scotland, commented Duncan Mackay, head of social work development at North Lanarkshire Council:
 
“This public campaign is just one part of a wider programme to improve awareness, access to support and quality of life for people who are worried about their memory or have dementia.”
 
The new helpline, formed as part of the venture, is open twenty-four hours a day because "...people choose to access information and advice in different ways," commented Brenda Hutchison, head of South Lanarkshire Council’s adult and older people’s services.
“That’s why the helpline along with a website are available 24 hours a day," she added.
 
Maureen Thom, information manager, Alzheimer Scotland, said: “Everyone can be forgetful at times but if changes to your memory are causing you to worry, or if you are worried about someone you know, don’t keep it to yourself call the local dementia helpline.”
 
The new helpline can be telephoned on 0808 808 3000 or by visiting the website at www.alzscot.org
 
Fiona Borrowman, health improvement programme manager for mental health in later life and dementia at NHS Health Scotland, added: “In 2008, the Scottish Government undertook a trial project designed to encourage more people to seek information or support if they were concerned about their memory.
 
“That trial told us people were more likely to seek help if they thought information and help would be available if they did have dementia.
 
“That’s one of the reasons why we’ve developed the dementia helpline.”

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