DEMENTIA was spotlighted in a major event at Airedale Hospital.

More than 70 people, from the health sector and members of the public, took part.

The event, the first in a series focussing on different health topics, was hosted by specialist staff from the Airedale and Bradford District Care NHS foundation trusts.

Around 5,000 people across the Bradford district are affected by dementia, with the figure set to rise to 6,000 by 2020.

Chris North, dementia lead at the care trust, outlined at the event the services available locally to support people with the condition and their carers.

And specialist nurses Fiona Throp and Sophie Wilson talked about how the condition affects people.

Stalls were provided by a range of organisations and charities including the health trusts, Carers' Resource, the Carers Hub, Alzheimer's Society, Dementia Friends in Keighley and Ilkley, the fire and rescue service and Driving Miss Daisy.

Also, trust governors were on hand to receive feedback about dementia care and other patient experiences of services in the community and at hospitals.

Mr North said: "Increasing numbers of people are affected by dementia.

"It is caused by damage to the brain by diseases such as Alzheimer's or a series of strokes. It is a progressive condition, which means that it will gradually get worse over time.

"There are over 40,000 people under 65 with dementia in the UK, one in 20 people over 65 will have the condition and the numbers increase to one in six people over the age of 80.

"We know that these people are often vulnerable because of their condition.

"We already have a number of programmes in place to support people living with dementia, both with their physical and mental wellbeing.

"Being diagnosed is the first step to getting treatment and the key to opening up the doors to support.

"A diagnosis can be scary and confusing, however it is possible to live well with the illness."

Stella Jackson, the care trust's deputy secretary, said events such as the one at Airedale Hospital were invaluable.

"They provide people with an opportunity to learn more about the local services available to support their healthcare needs," she added.

"They also give people the chance to provide feedback about NHS services to their governors, who then share the feedback with NHS colleagues."