‘We are really struggling’: Dementia charities need more funding and research, says support worker

Dementia charities are struggling to get funding, a support group worker has claimed, despite the city’s universities signing a memorandum to support research into the illness.

Dementia Awareness Week is taking place from Sunday 15 to Saturday 21, and the three universities, University of Manchester, University of Salford and Manchester Metropolitan University, met on Monday at the Whitworth Art Gallery to highlight the importance of continuing to research the condition.

However Sally Ferris, from Together Dementia Support, claimed that more needs to be done to support people with the illness.

“There still needs to be more research into post-diagnostic support, and we are really struggling to get funding with the groups that we run,” she told MM.

“This is a big problem in Manchester at the moment.

“The work that we do needs to be more joined up with the work that the university research teams do, so that they can understand other important issues such as how a lot of people isolate themselves after receiving a diagnosis and how this can be dealt with better.”

Research from The Alzheimer’s Society has found that as many as 62% of people delay seeking help with the disease through fears over its public perception.

And Ms Ferris said that increased integration between charities and the universities can only be a good thing.

“We have a research study with the University of Manchester who talk to our carers group, and also participate in a neighbourhood study,” she said.

“This gives them a good insight into dementia patient’s surroundings, and how their wellbeing is affected.”

All three universities are pioneering projects in Dementia Research.

The University of Manchester are working on ways to identify new areas of the brain for drug development, as well as the importance of early diagnosis by looking for molecular clues, known as biomarkers, in the body that warn of the early stages of dementia.

The University of Salford are looking into how artificial intelligence could help people in their own homes, the best ways of providing support for Black and Minority Ethnic communities, and also how day-to-day lives of people with early dementia can be managed.

Professor Nigel Hooper, The University of Manchester’s lead for Dementia Research said: “The memorandum that is being signed today indicates that the three universities are ready to work together to make a positive difference to promote the work of dementia research.

“We will be an ongoing exercise of collaborating and sharing information together to provide help to one another.”

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