When you have a child it’s true to say your view on the world changes somewhat.
I don’t mean that you don’t regret losing your free time and ability to head off to the pub at the drop of a hat.
Rather I mean that you have something that you value above all others.
I don’t think it’s inaccurate when people say they would die for their children, however I’m not a person that thinks it’s because parents are wonderful people, rather that it’s hard wired through evolution that we, as a species, need our line to continue.
That aside if you’re having or have had a child recently then said infant can count themselves very lucky.
They live in a time of relative plenty: there’s enough food out there that they shouldn’t starve, there’s the NHS to keep them healthy, in theory they have little statistical chance of ever finding themselves without a roof over their head.
That means there’s actually no reason why your child shouldn’t have a fulfilling life – they have everything they need.
But there’s a spectre on the horizon which we as a society need to deal with.
However, as I’ve briefly outlined above, we’re a society that delights in the continuation of our species but seems to offer little to help those at the other end of the age spectrum.
The terrifying fact is that one of three children born this year will go on to develop dementia.
Charity Alzheimer’s Research UK has warned of a “looming national health crisis” as the population ages.
Currently, dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK with the most common condition being Alzheimer’s.
Many of you reading this will be familiar with the effects of Alzheimer’s or dementia in general.
It takes once vibrant minds and crushes them until you are only able to catch the occasional glance of someone you once know.
It’s unseen, unable to be cured and attacks the person not just the body.
It’s the cruellest condition that can rob people not only of a future but also a past.
Monday was World Alzheimers Day and to mark the event new research by the Office of Health Economics was released which showed 27% of boys born in 2015 will develop the condition in their lifetime.
That’s a terrible figure – but even more worryingly 37% of girls will be affected.
Previous research from the same team estimated development of a drug which could delay the onset of dementia by five years would cut the number of cases by a third.
George McNamara, head of policy at Alzheimer’s Society said: “Dementia is already the biggest health challenge this country faces.
“It costs the UK in excess of £26bn, which equates to £30,000 a person with dementia – more than the cost of either cancer or heart disease. Today’s stark finding should galvanise the Government, and us all, into action.”
He added: “The quicker we see better investment, the sooner we will get the answers we need to develop treatments, ways of preventing dementia and ultimately a cure.”
Dr Matthew Norton, head of policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK described the condition as “our greatest medical challenge” adding “Research has the power to transform lives, and our actions now will help determine the future for children born today.”
Let’s make sure tomorrow’s children don’t face the same risk as today’s adults