Call for more dementia care

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A GRANDFATHER with the early stages of Alzheimer’s believes more support is needed for sufferers of the disease.

Peter Gunnett, 65, was speaking after a YouGov poll this month revealed that it is the disease people fear most in the UK - even ahead of cancer.

However, the poll, commissioned by Alzheimer’s Research UK, also found that dementia research receives eight times less funding than cancer research.

Mr Gunnett, of Martyns Way in Weedon, lives with his wife Janet and was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s in 2007.

He said: “I do get a lot of support locally which helps keep my mind active.

“But I don’t think many people know as much about dementia as they do about conditions like cancer.

“Some doctors and nurses don’t know how to cope with it and there does seem to be a lack of knowledge and awareness.

“With cancer you have a timescale and know more about what can happen, but with things like Alzheimer’s it can just go on and on and often people don’t know how to deal with it.

“When people look at me I’m just the same, and that’s how I feel.

“I can still drive as long as Janet is in the car with me and I still do many of the things I used to.

“I also take medication and that keeps the affects down, it’s just my short term memory I suffer with.”

The dad-of-two, who is a retired long distance lorry driver, now attends the Long Buckby Dementia Support Group each month.

He also has a helper who takes him out once a week to do things like walk the dog or play bowls.

Mrs Gunnett, 64, said: “It’s just the need to be constantly reminded about what day it is and things like that can be frustrating, but you have got to be patient.

“We get by and do as much as we can and thankfully there’s lots of support in the area.

“But I think doctors probably do need more training in this area.

“Daventry Alzheimer’s Support has been great and we go to the dementia cafe in Long Buckby which has been wonderful for both Peter and myself.

“But the more people who know and understand about Alzheimer’s and dementia the better.”