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Calls for more dementia support as number of those with condition predicted to soar by 2030

PUBLISHED: 22:19 13 November 2019 | UPDATED: 22:19 13 November 2019

Peter Berry has early onset dementia. He is taking part in a cycle challenge across Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridge and 
Lincoln on a penny farthing in aid of Dementia UK  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Peter Berry has early onset dementia. He is taking part in a cycle challenge across Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridge and Lincoln on a penny farthing in aid of Dementia UK Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

The number of people living with dementia in Suffolk could increase by more than 5,000 in the next decade, prompting calls for more support.

Currently more than 13,000 people have dementia in Suffolk but a new report commissioned by the Alzheimer's Society suggests this number could top 18,500 by the year 2030.

The report predicts that an ageing population will mean a higher proportion of people with dementia will have higher care needs for longer.

One of those currently living with dementia in Suffolk is Peter Berry from Friston.

Mr Berry was diagnosed with Alzheimers at the age of 50, now 55 he spends much of his time fundraising to help others with the condition.

He is concerned that growing numbers of people with dementia will struggle to find support.

"In the towns and cities there is more support," said Mr Berry.

"It's trying to get more support groups for us in rural areas. I live in a village and I don't drive.

"I would like to see more rural support groups."

As well as focusing on those living in the countryside Mr Berry said it was important that those diagnosed with the condition earlier in their lives were also properly helped along with their families.

"It was a diagnosis for the family, not just me," said Mr Berry.

"We don't suffer with dementia, our loved ones and the people around us, they suffer."

Mr Berry said that he was pleased that his wife was being supported following his own diagnosis.

"My wife gets to speak to others. It's good for her to talk to people going through the same thing," said Mr Berry.

In the past few years, Mr Berry and his cycling partner Deb Bunt have raised hundreds of pounds for dementia charities through their biking adventures.

They are currently taking part in a challenge to complete 1000 miles on their bikes for Alzheimer's Research UK.

"I have raised a lot of money for young dementia but I have come to realise that support is important, but finding a cure is vital," said Mr Berry.

"Maybe a doctor can say to someone in the future that they can die with Alzheimer's rather than from it."

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