IT’S Dementia Awareness Week and people across Dorset are determined to get people talking about the topic.

Activities have been taking place across the county and health chiefs have released a video about diagnosing dementia.

Residents and staff at Chestnut House Nursing Home in Charlton Down near Dorchester made purple ribbons to wear as well as getting involved in a host of memory jogging sessions.

Dementia describes a group of symptoms including memory loss, confusion and difficulty with day-to-day tasks. There are many causes of dementia, with Alzheimer’s the most common.

One in 50 people between the ages of 65 and 70 have a form of dementia, compared to one in five people over 80.

Dementia often develops slowly and is not always obvious in the early stages. The Charlton Down home is also celebrating its new ‘Namaste’ treatment rooms which reach out to the five senses for dementia sufferers and include aromatherapy and massage treatment and therapy. Michael Forgard, activities co-ordinator, said: “People are scared of people with dementia.

“It is important to remember they are still normal people with likes and dislikes. We have been doing different activities every day as part of the awareness week.”

Mr Forgard added: “We’ve had some really good results from the ‘Namaste rooms – one woman who could barely walk started to move around a lot more and another man has countered problems he had with his hand following intensive therapy work.”

Residents have also been making the most of ‘memory box’ sessions where they get the chance to hold and talk about items from the past.

This year’s Dementia Awareness Week is all about opening up.

More than 40 per cent of people affected by dementia have kept concerns about the condition bottled up, according to a poll carried out by Alzheimer’s Society.

A spokesman said: “We want anyone who's concerned about dementia to stop bottling it up and talk to us.”

* If you’re worried that you, or someone close to you, may have dementia, it can be difficult to talk about.

You may feel scared, confused or even ashamed.

You may also be hoping that the problem will go away so you don’t have to deal with it.

Speak to a National Dementia Helpline Adviser on 0300 222 11 22.

The Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group has launched a video about diagnosing dementia.

The video features Dr Paul French, Dementia Lead for NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, talking about diagnosing dementia.

To view it visit