Plague of 21st century
is no laughing matter

John Halewood Dodd
John Halewood Dodd

Those affected by dementia will understand why it has recently been described as the plague of the 21st-century.

There is every likelihood that I will be a sufferer as I have witnessed my grandad, and more recently my beloved mother, develop the disease.

As a child I didn’t understand grandad’s behaviour but as I got older I realised that he was ill rather than just exhibiting typical Dodd eccentricities.

My brothers and I would find it amusing when neighbours knocked at the door to inform us that grandad was tap dancing in the local 
chippie again whilst singing in what he thought was Italian.

Now my mother has been diagnosed with the same debilitating disease I find it difficult to find the humorous side.

Mum is not yet 70 and was fit and healthy but recently suffered a fall which has exacerbated the dementia.

Her memory has deteriorated significantly and she now struggles to recognise even her closest family.

Her eyes illustrate that she is trying her damndest but this horrible disease won’t let her.

To see her like this is heartbreaking.

There are currently 800,000 people diagnosed with dementia in the UK with that figure likely to double by 2050. The government has just announced increased funding into research 
but that is far from enough. I feel that attitudes need to change.

Governments need to recognise that we need to take this monster on and if that means increasing resources then so be it.

We each have to take preventative measures to avoid being blighted with this horrible disease.

Research has established that a healthy diet with plenty of exercise dramatically reduces the chances of being struck down with this killer.

Finally, the attitude of those who encounter sufferers has to change so that there is no stigma attached.

As kids, my brothers and I laughed at grandad’s behaviour but we knew no better and I reiterate this vile 
disease is not funny in the slightest.