Nori Graham offers some advice to those coping with relatives who have Alzheimer’s
The Alzheimer’s Society forecasts that more than a million people in the UK will have dementia by 2025. Can anything be done to limit the impact of this debilitating condition? Mental-health adviser Nori Graham answers this — and more than 270 other questions on dementia — in a new book she has co-written. The book, Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias: Answers At Your Fingertips (Class Publishing), is a practical reference guide to help people caring for someone with the conditions. It has been endorsed by actor Tony Robinson, and is supported by the Alzheimer’s Society and several other organisations that care for the elderly.
Dr Graham, 72, is emeritus consultant in old-age psychiatry at the Royal Free Hospital, North London, and mental-health adviser to Nightingale, the care home for older members of the Jewish community. “I wish the book could be distributed free to help as many people as possible,” says Dr Graham, who notes that there are around 700,000 people in the UK with Alzheimer’s — a number expected to rise as the population ages.
She tells People: “The book features genuine questions from people with dementia and their carers. The aim is for it to be looked at as a resource. The staff at Nightingale find it really useful, as do relatives who are caring for someone at home.” She notes: “There is virtually no one in the UK who doesn’t have someone in their extended family with dementia, and nobody is immune from it.”
According to Dr Graham, some of the most common questions include: “What is dementia? Will I get it? Is there a cure? And is there anything I can do to prevent it?”
Dr Graham, who has been advising at Nightingale for more than seven years, suggests getting into good habits from a young age. Not smoking, taking regular exercise, and keeping to a healthy diet may help prevent some forms of dementia later in life.
Vice-president of the UK Alzheimer’s Society, Dr Graham lives in Kentish Town, North London.