The increased incidence of dementia in older populations was at the forefront of clinicians’ minds as staff at Highgate Private Hospital celebrating International Nurses Day supported patients suffering with Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Health chiefs say that the number of those living with dementia will increase from 850,000 in the UK today, as people live longer. The country’s ageing Jewish community has long known that it could be particularly affected.
“International Nurses Day is a great opportunity to help raise the profile of this condition that can touch any member of our society, how it can disrupt the individual’s daily living and the ripple effect created,” said Highgate Private Hospital’s director of nursing Christine Etherington.
Consultant Neurologist Dr. Dominic Mort stressed the value of early medical diagnosis, saying: “A dementia or Alzheimer’s patient should not be seen as a burden but more as someone who is carrying a huge burden.”
All hospital staff were encouraged to voluntarily sign up and become “Dementia Friends,” to learn about what it is like to live with dementia. The initiative was launched “to tackle the stigma and lack of understanding that means many people with the condition experience loneliness and social exclusion”.
Age-related health concerns are a particular concern to community policymakers conscious that there are 47,000 retired Jews living in the UK, with early diagnosis made more difficult by cultural factors.
“Jews are less likely to report poor general health than the general population for all groups aged 30 and above,” wrote Dr David Graham in a report for the Institute of Jewish Policy Research (JPR) in 2015.