A NEWPORT man, who lost his parents to dementia, has backed a campaign, promoting healthy lifestyles in the hope of cutting the risk of developing the condition.

The Welsh Government and Public Health Wales are encouraging people in Wales to pledge to take six steps to reduce their dementia risk.

Norman Parselle has taken up walking football and plays regularly at Llanwern High School, as part of the second phase of the dementia risk reduction campaign, which launches today.

“When my parents were alive, my family made a big effort to make sure that they stayed active,” he said.

“Even when their dementia got quite bad, we would take them out and about.

“They played skittles regularly and always had music on at home.

“We managed to keep them living at home until the last six months before they died, so they could lead as normal a life as possible.”

The campaign is based around the mnemonic ACT NOW, with each letter representing a strategy to reduce the risk of dementia.

These are: Active - physically and socially; Check your health regularly, Try new things, No to smoking, Only drink alcohol within the guidelines, if at all and Watch your weight.

“Who knows what’s around the corner for any of us?” said Mr Parselle, 47.

“But I do know that lack of physical activity, isolation and depression can contribute to the decline of people with dementia, so keeping fit and active, and socialising with friends may reduce the risk of getting dementia, and stave it off for as long as possible.

“That’s why, seeing how the disease affected my parents, I decided to get involved with my local walking football club in Newport

“About 20 of us regularly play on a Monday night, 6pm to 7pm, in the sports hall at Llanwern High School.

“I enjoy the banter and camaraderie that we have, and, it still has an element of light-hearted competitiveness, keeps me fit, and is lots of fun.”

The minister for social services and public health, Rebecca Evans AM said: “The risk of dementia increases with age and as more people are living longer, the number of people developing dementia will grow.”

“These are simple steps that people can take not only to reduce the dementia risk, but other conditions including cancer, heart disease and stroke.

“The message is clear – don’t wait; act now to reduce your risk.”

Visit change4lifewales.org.uk for information.