In Pictures

Living with Alzheimer's disease

More than 45 million people around the world have dementia, the Alzheimer's Society says.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. It can affect people of all ages, but usually it affects older people.

Photographer Leah Beach has travelled around Kenya, investigating the impact it can have.

On World Alzheimer's Day, the Alzheimer's Society is urging leaders around the world to recognise dementia needs urgent action, and unite in ensuring better diagnosis, care and awareness.

An elderly woman's hand. Image copyright Leah Beach
A woman sits on her bed Image copyright Leah Beach

This woman was living in a room in her family's home. It was kept locked due to her family's worry that she would get lost and "roam" around the village. It meant she was unable to speak or communicate to anyone.

Every day, the man in the foreground visits his lifelong friend in remote fishing village Mkwiro, even though his friend cannot remember him.

Two men sit in their bedrooms Image copyright Leah Beach
Two men sit in their house. Image copyright Leah Beach
A woman in a headscarf sits on her bed. Image copyright Leah Beach

Mkwiro is known for its palm weaving, and this woman is one of the finest. She has taught the traditional technique to all of the women in the community.

However, recently she has begun to forget these techniques and is frustrated that she can no longer practise her craft.

A woman's hands with a bag Image copyright Leah Beach
A man sits on his bed Image copyright Leah Beach
A man sits outside Image copyright Leah Beach

Both these people are prominent figures in their local community. The man is considered a village elder. His wife cares for him, dressing him and remembering things for him throughout the day.

He is still treated with respect, although it is known he is having trouble with his memory.

A portrait of a woman Image copyright Leah Beach

This woman has been cared for by her daughters since her former husband remarried.

She is slowly losing her memory and because her daughters have to leave her for long periods, they worry about her "being lost in the bush".

An elderly lady sits on the floor Image copyright Leah Beach

This woman is the oldest in the village. All five generations of her family care for her.

This fisherman has worked in the village for his entire life, and was always the main provider for his family.

However, he has recently forgotten how to fish, and now his family make him stay at home.

When he is left unsupervised, he gets lost in the village, and he has told his family he hopes for death so he is not a burden on them.

An elderly man. Image copyright Leah Beach
An elderly woman in a headscarf. Image copyright Leah Beach

This woman is cared for by her sister. She used to collect seaweed for the village every day.

Now, she has forgotten how to "wade" and is fearful her family will make her stay home if anything happens to her while she is by the sea.

All photographs by Leah Beach. The Alzheimer's Society is a founding member of the Global Alzheimer's & Dementia Action Alliance (GADAA), which seeks to champion global action on dementia.