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Young Onset Dementia Support Group

Young Onset Dementia Support Group

The Cognitive Neurology service at St George’s Hospital was established in 2010 and sees about 250 new patients a year with memory and other cognitive problems. We see patients from all over South West London and beyond. The team includes two consultant neurologists, a specialist nurse, a neuropsychologist and a research co-ordinator.

Now, thanks to grant and charitable funding, the Group is professionally facilitated and meets every six to eight weeks.

A major part of our work is the diagnosis and treatment of people with young onset (also called early onset) dementia, where symptoms begin before the age of 65. But we want to do more than offer a diagnosis and medical treatment. So we established a Support Group to bring together people who’d received a diagnosis of young onset dementia in our clinic. Support Group meetings provide an opportunity for people with dementia and their supporters to talk about the challenges of living with dementia, share ideas and remain up to date on practical issues and scientific developments.  

The Support Group helps people with more advanced dementia to find their voice, through techniques such as imagery and physical expression. The meetings have fostered a real sense of community among people who otherwise feel very isolated.

“After four years in search of an answer to my husband's symptoms the diagnosis at St George's came as both a shock and a relief. A shock, because in spite of our increasing concerns, it was hard to believe that he was suffering from a condition that is typically associated with much older people. A relief, because we could at last start thinking about the future after several years of confusion and even inappropriate treatment. But we were also hit by a tremendous sense of isolation. None of the existing sources of support seemed to take into account the special needs of people with Young Onset Dementia and their partners and families. It's not an exaggeration to say that since then the St George’s Young Onset Group has been a lifeline. Over the past four years it has been a source of professional, practical and emotional support. It has helped us to learn more about the nature of the illness and to get a better understanding of how to access such support as exists locally. Above all, through the opportunities to meet and share experiences with others, it has shown us that we are not alone in facing the challenges of living with dementia and its impact on both patients and their families. Over time it has become a hugely valuable network for mutual support. Sadly, it has made us realise that far from being rare there are many new cases of Young Onset Dementia being diagnosed and people joining the group who feel just as frightened and alone as we did. It is obvious that the need for the support group is stronger than ever.”

Jacquie and Tony (diagnosed 2010)

 

“On a daily basis I am humbled by the resilience and resourcefulness of our patients and their supporters. The least that we can do is provide a space where they can share what they know and feel with others. Even the chance to talk over a cup of tea to someone facing similar challenges can help defeat loneliness and re-charge people’s batteries. But with charitable funds we can offer a lot more than this, with more frequent meetings, highly skilled professional facilitators and a varied programme of events and activities. The more we can do, the greater an impact we can make on the lives of people living with dementia.”

Dr Jeremy Isaacs, consultant neurologist and dementia clinical lead at St George’s Hospital.

The Support Group is open to anyone with Young Onset Dementia and those caring for them. 

 

Young Onset Dementia Support Group

We want to do a great deal more! There is no cure for dementia. Practical support and real commitment are not a substitute but they are a very big help! Please make a donation today to St George’s Hospital Charity and help us to do a very great deal more.   Thank you!

£10 - helps us run the website

£30 - helps us send postal invites to support group members for one meeting

£50 - helps us produce materials for all attending the meetings

£100 - helps us provide a professional facilitator for one support group meeting

 St George’s Hospital Charity is currently supporting the St George’s Young Onset Dementia Support Group. All funds raised will develop the service the Support Group has been created to provide for people with dementia and their supporters.

 

 

 

 

 

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