On 25 September, the Trust held another Health Matters event in partnership with Science Oxford. The topic was Alzheimer’s and the speakers were Dr Svetlana Hemsley, Specialist Registrar, and Claire Merritt, a Research Nurse with Thames Valley Dendron.

Dr Hemsley set the scene, giving details about what Alzheimer’s is, how it can be treated and some background on why it is such an important issue. There are approximately 36 million people with dementia across the world, with 800,000 people in the UK suffering from dementia. Over half of those people in the UK have Alzheimer’s disease and this number is set to double in the next 20 years.  Dr Hemsley went on to talk about the treatment and management of Alzheimer’s, including medication.  She also gave an update on the work of the Memory Clinics across the county in assessing and supporting people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  Memory Clinics assess and support a wide range of areas in a person’s life affected by dementia, including diet, fitness, personal hygiene, social contact and the ability to carry out other day to day activities.

Claire Merritt followed with a presentation on current research into Alzheimer’s disease and the work of Thames Valley Dendron supporting research.  She pointed out that our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias has increased markedly over the years but there is still a long way to go.  As we know, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s but research shows that if we are able to delay the onset of dementia by five years it would significantly reduce the number of deaths directly attributable to dementia.  Claire talked about the importance of research and encouraging people to participate in order to develop our knowledge about how to diagnose, treat and manage dementia, possible causes and prevention.

There was a lively discussion after the two presentations with lots of insightful questions and comments from the audience, covering medication issues, prevention and different research studies in the UK and abroad. The event ended with some practical tips from Dr Hemsley to help your memory.


  • Keep a diary.
  • Pin a weekly timetable to the wall.
  • Keep your keys in an obvious place.
  • Read a daily newspaper to remind you of the date.
  • Put labels on cupboards and drawers.
  • Keep useful telephone numbers by the phone.
  • Write yourself useful reminders and leave them in helpful places e.g. a note on the inside of your front door reminding you to take your keys out with you.
  • Programme people’s names and numbers into your telephone.
  • Set the alarm on your watch to act as a reminder.
  • Install safety devices such as smoke alarms throughout your home.

For updates on future Health Matters’ events taking place across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire please visit https://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/news/whats-on/