The network of young dementia starts in Suffolk

February 17, 2019, 08:37 | Updated: February 17, 2019, 09:08

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Suffolk Mind is launching a new peer support group to help people with characteristics or a diagnosis of juvenile dementia.

The Suffolk Young Dementia Network makes its debut on a 6-month service launched by Suffolk Mind last summer, for people aged 30 to 65 living with dementia in Suffolk.

The figures suggest that those living with the condition may be up to 6-9% of all people with dementia. Overall in Suffolk, it is estimated that 12,800 people live with dementia.

The group will be based on a monthly basis in different areas of Suffolk and is a meeting point for young people with dementia and their carers to offer mutual support.

Peter Berry, who will use the Suffolk Young Dementia Network, was diagnosed with dementia when he was 50 years old.

"When I was told that I had dementia, I did not think it would be that bad and I thought I could handle it," he said.

"However, when you come home and think of the enormity of what the future holds, it's heavy on your shoulders." I became very depressed and inappropriately, in the first 12 months, my wife and I hardly anybody told anyone, I felt embarrassed.

"One of the basic things that I and many other people in my position lack is peer support, having a sort of network with people in the same age group is very important." Peer support networks do not only help affected people. from dementia, but they can even save lives, it can save people from depression, it can save families and give people a sense of value, it gives people something to look at and for some it can be a light at the end of the tunnel. "

Peter's wife, Teresa Berry, said: "This has been something we've wanted for so long – I've never met a single person in Suffolk in the same boat that we are – it's so insulating, having a group that we hope will grow and spreading would be wonderful ".

The launch of the Suffolk Young Dementia Network will be held today at DanceEast in Ipswich (Sunday, February 17), from 11:00 to 13:00.

Sue Gray, Suffolk Young Dementia Network Co-ordinator said: "When you're younger than you are perceived to get dementia it's scary to go to the doctor and explore why your memory and planning skills seem to change – and therefore being told you have dementia Dementia is a life-changing condition at any age, but when you are young it is all the more difficult to accept and adapt.

"We want people to be able to meet others in a similar situation – face to face, by e-mail or on the phone, and be able to exchange support and information."