Ever walk into a room and forget why you went in there? You are not alone. Research from Bupa has identified that two thirds of adults (63%) admit to suffering embarrassing or annoying 'memory blots' three or more times a week.
These all too familiar moments, when you forget a friend or colleague's name or why you went into a room, are happening to over a quarter (27%) of us at least once a day, and to 96% of people at least once a week. Half (50%) of people admit they find these forgetful moments frustrating while almost a third (30%) said they were annoying.
No matter what age you are, from time to time it is normal to forget where you put your keys or what you went upstairs for. While occasional memory blots should not be mistaken with the onset of dementia, these moments of confusion and blank recall do give a small sense of what living with dementia can feel like, and the frustration someone living with the disease can experience.
I draw on this analogy to try and help explain what it must feel like to live with dementia. Losing your keys is annoying, but imagine forgetting the simplest, and sometimes the biggest things, every single day - and the amount of upset and frustration this would cause you. Envisage fearing that there might be something that you had to do, maybe needed to do, but then forgotten.
By 2025 more than one million people are expected to be living with dementia in the UK. We have created the Memory Challenge to give people a small insight into what living with dementia can feel like. The online game simulates a sense of confusion and frustration to help give people an idea of the feelings someone living with dementia can experience. The challenge can be found at: www.thememorychallenge.co.uk.
While the number of people living with dementia is on the rise, our research shows that there is a lack of awareness and understanding of the disease. Just under half of people (45%) think that the condition affects 1 in 250 people or fewer, when in reality the condition affects 1 in 14 people over the age of 65 alone. There are also an estimated 40,000 people in the UK with dementia under the age of 65.
Our research also shows that there is a lack of awareness about how early dementia can begin to develop. Someone who is diagnosed with the condition at 70 is likely to have started developing dementia in their brain in their mid-40s. Over three quarters of people (77%) don't think dementia can occur in the brain in the early-40s. In fact, more than half of people (57%) believe that someone diagnosed with dementia at 75 wouldn't start developing the condition until they were 55 or older.
With the number of people living with dementia set to more than double over the next thirty-five years, more needs to be done to raise awareness and understanding of the condition. Soon most of us will know a family member or friend that has the dementia and it is vital that people better understand the condition and know how they can help support people living with it, as well as their family and friends. The Memory Challenge is just one step in Bupa's commitment to make a more dementia friendly society.