DEMENTIA sufferers and their families need earlier diagnosis and support to live with the disease, a new report has shown.

Local councillors have investigated the illness in Barnsley through a group formed within the authority’s overview and scrutiny commitee - and have suggested a number of strategies to help within the community.

Coun Tim Cheetham said: “There are some quality services around but that issue about early identification and diagnosis and rapid response is fundamental.

“Dementia is one of those conditions where people will either ignore it or laugh it off.”

Strong messages have been developed, such as ‘healthy heart, healthy brain’, which will make residents aware about the risks linked to vascular dementia such as high alcohol consumption.

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Carers need more help too, with the group’s report finding an increase in day service capacity is required.

Communication is key, said Coun Paul Hand-Davis - who led the group and added recent sessions chatting to carers were insightful on the matter.

The Dementia Alliance, made up of a number of Barnsley charities, have shared helpful information which has been passed onto residents too.

Coun Jenny Platts said: “We need to know that as much as possible is being done to support people living with dementia, their families and their carers as well.

“I can confirm there’s a multi-agency action plan being developed to look at all the recommendations.”