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Dementia Expert Professor Murna Downs Speaks on BBC Breakfast


The BBC has reported that an estimated 800,000 people in the UK live with dementia, a condition that can deprive people of their memories and alter their personalities. As the number of people with this condition continues to rise each year, it becomes ever more important to develop ways of dealing with it. The Belgian city of Bruges has created a dementia-friendly community, highlighting them as a pioneer in dealing with dementia.

Professor Murna Downs, Head of the at the Faculty of Health Studies, joined BBC Breakfast on 20th February 2013 to share her opinion.

She said: “In Bruges they focus both on the person’s experience and on the family’s experience, but also on the broader community and the role they play in helping families and people with dementia to live fuller lives with this condition.

“The wonderful part about Bruges is the attention they pay to the people with dementia and to their families to help them renegotiate their relationships and adapt to different abilities and wishes, the detailed work they do in people’s homes is probably the most inspiring aspect.”

Reporting for the BBC, Jenny Hill said that many projects and schemes in Bruges are already being deployed in the UK, with a focus on helping dementia sufferers through everyday activities like sport and music. The report confirmed that 41% of dementia sufferers go missing at some point and that the government is working with communities to deal with this issue.

Murna went on to say: “When combating dementia we need to consider the pace we live our lives at; we go too quickly for people with dementia to keep up with us. We really need to slow down in order to work at their pace of processing information and we’re a good way along the road to doing that.”

The School of Dementia Studies delivers a wide range of training courses, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes (by distance learning) and undertake research into dementia.

View the clip on the BBC website

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