Local Residents supported Alcester Dementia Memory Walk this September …

This September, Memory Walks have been taking place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to raise money and awareness for a world without dementia. Thousands of people of all ages and abilities joined in, from grandparents to grandchildren and even furry four-legged friends. It was a time for everyone to come together and celebrate loved ones affected by dementia.

Alcester Dementia Memory Walk was supported  by the local community who took part on the 3 routes (short, medium and long) around Alcester on Sunday 20th September. Maps and directions were handed out to those taking part and, either before or after the walk, everyone was invited to a soup and sandwich lunch in Jubilee Hall.

Thanks go to those who helped with the walk organisation, food etc and to those who took part on the day.

Money raised is being put towards a dementia centre / day care facility in the town, the next stage on from the successful Alcester Cafe: http://www.alcesterdementiacafe.org/. Day care will provide dementia respite so needed in the area.

If you want to help with the dementia day care fundraising or would like more information about becoming a Dementia Friend please contact Carole or Roger Zambonini on 01789 488088.


Picture 1: starting the walk


Picture 2: four legged furry friends came along too!

Dementia Action Alliance Member Profile – Warwickshire Library and Information Service


My name is Deborah Hateley and I work for Warwickshire Libraries as Senior Librarian Priority Groups.

Warwickshire Libraries joined the Dementia Action Alliance in 2013, signing up to an action plan that we would endeavour to work towards. Libraries are a wonderful free community resource available for all and we were and are keen to ensure that all in our community are able to access the wealth that libraries offer. Our action plan would contain a focus on training, partnerships, events and promotions. And as a library of course, one area that we would want to look at would be the books that we could offer to support those with dementia, facing a diagnosis or those who may be looking for ways to support their loved ones.

Books are a superb tool to support the health and wellbeing of everyone in many ways – Reading for just 30 minutes a week can have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing – ‘Quick Reads’ in partnership with Dr Josie Billington, ‘Reading Between the Lines: the Benefits of Reading for Pleasure’, 2015. Books can also be used to support those with dementia and those caring for them and offer a way of communicating with people who may now find it difficult to understand the world around them.

Back in 2011 Warwickshire Libraries launched a new service called Books on Prescription, a collection of high quality self-help books covering a range of commonly experienced mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety and stress. The project was coordinated by a colleague, who developed links with a number of partners including Public Health, Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust (CWPT), Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) and NHS Warwickshire. A further two collections aimed at children and young people, (Sorted!) and the parents and carers of young children (Mini Sorted!) were subsequently launched.

This collection contained four titles on dementia: ‘Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementias’ by Nori Graham, ‘Living Your Best with Early Stage Alzheimer’s’ by Lisa Synder, ‘A Personal Guide to Living with Progressive Memory Loss’ by Sandy Burgener and ‘Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias’ by Harry Cayton. As with all the titles in the BoP collection these books were available to borrow straight off the shelves or be prescribed by a GP or Health Professional.

Earlier this year The Reading Agency launched the Reading Well Books on Prescription Dementia collection. This is a national list recommending books that people may find helpful if they have dementia, are caring for someone with dementia or simply want to find out more about the condition. The collection is helpfully divided into four sections: information and advice, living well with dementia, support for relatives and personal stories. Warwickshire Libraries, along with other library authorities decided to purchase these collections to make them available to local library users. We were proud of the books we had in our original collection, but a new national collection encompassing 24 titles would give a much wider selection of choice and align us with both the regional and national offer. In the same way as the Warwickshire titles, books on this new national collection have been recommended by health professionals and selected using guidelines and quality standards for dementia care from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) and other professional organisations.

Also included in the collections are Pictures to Share, a selection of illustrated books that help communicate with people with mid to late stage dementia as well as other brain injuries or stroke. Published by Pictures to Share, a community interest company set up by Helen Bate there are twelve titles already currently available in Warwickshire, bought as a result of a successful pilot project based in three Warwickshire care homes. Titles are available for loan from the larger libraries in Warwickshire as well as part of a longer term lending set aimed at care homes and day centres. They are a fantastic tool with a variety of photographs and pictures, both modern and vintage and including such topics as travelling, shopping, childhood days and a wonderfully titled ‘A Funny Old World’!

Reading Well Books on Prescription Dementia is available at our eight largest libraries; Atherstone, Bedworth, Kenilworth, Leamington Spa, Nuneaton, Rugby, Stratford on Avon and Warwick, but can, like other lending books, be requested and collected from any Warwickshire Library. As with the previous Books on Prescription collection these titles can also be prescribed by a GP or Health Professional.

We’re really proud to be able to offer this collection of books and hope that they may make a difference to those who are affected by dementia in whichever way. We will shortly be increasing the number held in Warwickshire making them available at all council run libraries. Further information about Reading Well Books on Dementia as well as the other Bop collections can be found on the Warwickshire Libraries webpage Warwickshire Books on Prescription.

Joining the library is free and easy. If you are not already a member pop into your local library with one form of ID and a member of staff will join you up. Alternatively you can join online here Join Warwickshire Library. Library staff are there to help so if you need any assistance or have any questions just fire away!

For more details on this article please contact us on dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

Warwickshire celebrates the fourth global Alzheimer’s Month

Worlds Alzheimer's Month poster

September 2015 marks the fourth World’s Alzheimer’s Month.
The aim of the Month is to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, challenge stigma associated with the condition, and help people with dementia live well in their local communities.

A range of activities will be taking place around the county during September helping people to become more dementia aware, these are listed below:

September 11: Alcester Café Open Day, 10.30am – 12.30pm – with talks starting at 11am, Jubilee Hall, off St Faiths Road, Alcester, B49 6AG.

September 13: Draycote Water Park, 10.30am-3pm, With every step taken at Rugby Memory Walk, you will help change the lives of people affected by dementia – now and in the future. Register yourself or a team, and start fundraising today. Rugby Memory Walk takes play around the beautiful Draycote Water. There will be two routes both wheelchair and pushchair friendly – 1 mile and 5 miles. The Memory Walk is a sponsored walk to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society. There will be refreshments, stalls and a raffle on the day, so come down and have a family day out! http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/rugby-memory-walk-2015-tickets-15773307387

September 18: Dementia Friends session, 10am -11am, Atherstone Library, Atherstone, CV9 1AX; Places can be booked on the Dementia Friends website http://www.dementiafriends.org.uk

September 19: Dementia Advice drop in day, 10am-3pm, Anya Court Care Home, Rugby, 286 Dunchurch Rd, Rugby CV22 6HX; Places can be booked on the Dementia Friends website http://www.dementiafriends.org.uk

September 19: Dementia Friends session, 2-3pm, Anya Court Care Home, Rugby, 286 Dunchurch Rd, Rugby CV22 6HX. Contact: Karen.Handley@hallmarkcarehomes.co.uk

September 20: Bulkington Memory Walk, starting at 2pm, Bulkington Village Centre, Bulkington. Contact: Tony Robinson email jarobinson145@btinternet.com for sponsorship forms, or phone (024) 76326177 for other enquiries.

September 20: Alcester: 3 walks to be held (walk 1: approx. 1 hour 15 mins – not suitable for prams, wheelchairs etc; walk 2 – approx. 30 mins; walk 3 under 15 mins; walks 2&3 suitable for all). Walks start at Jubilee Hall, off St Faiths Road, Alcester, B49 6AG. Contact: Carole or Roger 01789 488088.

In Warwickshire, according to latest estimates, there are 7,615 people living with dementia and this is likely to rise to over 9,000 people with dementia in the county by 2021. Most people in Warwickshire will be affected in some way by dementia during their lifetimes.

Show your support to helping people with dementia live well by taking part in one of the listed events or simply spreading the word to your family, friends or on social media to help others to understand the condition better.

For more information about dementia and support in Coventry and Warwickshire please visit the Dementia Portal on http://www.livingwellwithdementia.org/

Warwickshire’s 10,000 Dementia Friends Challenge continues


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My name is Claire Taylor and I work as a Health Improvement Lead for the Public Health team at Warwickshire County Council.

I became a Dementia Friend in 2013 after attending a one hour Dementia Friends Information Session. At the end of the information session, we were asked to think of a dementia friendly action to do after the session. This could range from wearing the Dementia Friends badge, further increasing our knowledge about dementia, finding out more about services and support for people with dementia, being more patient and understanding when out and about in the community, keeping in touch with a person with dementia, supporting carers of people with dementia, or spreading the word on social media and encouraging others to sign up. No action is too big or too small.

My action was to consider ways I could support the creation of more Dementia Friends throughout Warwickshire. In October 2014, with the full support of the Director of Public Health in Warwickshire (Dr John Linnane), I organised for a local Dementia Friends Champion to deliver a Dementia Friends Information Session to the Public Health Team. After a thoroughly engaging and interesting session, the entire team became Dementia Friends!

The photograph below shows our team proudly displaying our Dementia Friends badges:Public Health FriendsDr John Linnane is on the front row, second from the right. Just behind him (wearing glasses) is Cllr Bob Stevens who is the Chairman of Warwickshire County Council for 2015-16.

Dr Linnane’s dementia friendly action was to spread the word about Dementia Friends and encourage other organisations to get involved. This included the Clinical Commissioning Groups and District and Borough Councils in Warwickshire to name a few.

The enthusiasm for Dementia Friends inspired three members of the Public Health team (including myself and my manager, Dr Charlotte Gath) to become Dementia Friends Champions. We received training and various resources to enable us to deliver Dementia Friends sessions.

We had plenty of interest for Dementia Friends sessions and so within a few weeks each of us had delivered our first information sessions. The feedback was brilliant. Staff commented that they found the information sessions ‘really interesting’ and ‘thought provoking’, and that they ‘learnt a lot’. This feedback inspired me to consider what else I could do to support the creation of Dementia Friends.

Earlier this year, Warwickshire’s Dementia Friends Challenge was launched; it aimed to create 10,000 Dementia Friends in Warwickshire. As part of the Challenge I have had the privilege to deliver Dementia Friends Information Sessions to a number of different groups and teams.

I have been fortunate to work with other Dementia Friends Champions from Warwickshire (there are about 20), who are so enthusiastic and committed to supporting people to live well with dementia and creating dementia friendly communities.

We now have over 9,000 Dementia Friends in Warwickshire, which is a fabulous achievement in just a few months! In Warwickshire, there are estimated to be over 7,500 people living with dementia and so there are now more Dementia Friends in Warwickshire than people with dementia.

So, becoming a Dementia Friend is a really positive thing to do, and does not take much time – either an hour if you attend an information session or just five minutes if you sign up online.

You can become a Dementia Friend through any of the following ways:

1. Attending an hour long Dementia Friends Information session. Everyone who attends a session and wants to become a Dementia Friend will get a Dementia Friends badge and information card. You can book a place by visiting the Dementia Friends website http://www.dementiafriends.org.uk and searching for a local session.
There are sessions open to the public in Warwickshire during World Alzheimer’s Month (September 2015). These are as follows:

4th September – 9.30-10.30am
The Jubilee Centre, Alcester, Jubilee Hall, (off St Faith’s Road), Alcester, B49 6AG

18th September – 10-11am
Atherstone Library, Atherstone, CV9 1AX

19th September – 2pm-3pm
Anya Court Care Home, Rugby, 286 Dunchurch Rd, Rugby CV22 6HX

2. Groups may want to hold a Dementia Friends Information session, perhaps as part of their regular meeting. Sessions last up to an hour. If you would like to find out more about this please email: dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

3. Organisations can register with Dementia Friends, to access a suite of resources and information aimed at helping members of the organisation understand dementia and how it may affect a person. Registering will also enable you to keep a record of the number of staff in the organisation who have signed up as a Dementia Friend. Find out more on the Dementia Friends website, Dementia Friends website

4. Watching a short video on the Dementia Friends’ website Dementia Friends website Go to ‘Watch our online video’; Enter your details and watch the video to become a Dementia Friend. Then enter your address to get your FREE Little Book of Friendship – full of more helpful tips and ideas – and your Dementia Friends badge through the post. It takes just five minutes.

Please show your support by becoming a Dementia Friend –
why not sign up for an information session or sign up online today!

Thank you.

Claire Taylor

Dementia Friendly Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire

According to Alzheimer’s Society statistics there are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. This number is set to grow to a million in the next ten years.

Dementia can cause problems with memory, communication or perception of light, space and colour, or cause difficulties with performing everyday tasks like handling money or finding a way. Being dementia friendly is about having awareness of the impact that the condition has on a person and their life, and support them to continue with undertaking everyday tasks, like shopping or accessing local services.

All partners that sign up to Warwickshire’s Dementia Friendly Communities (DFCs) programme will be formally recognised as working towards meeting the national criteria for being dementia friendly and provided with a ‘Working towards becoming Dementia Friendly’ symbol which can be displayed in public areas:download (1)

Businesses may have a community charter, or a community benefit component to quality assurance programmes, and making it easier for people with dementia to use local services will contribute to that. Many of the solutions, although aimed at becoming more dementia friendly, are also likely to enhance access and use of services by other groups.

As an example, Everyone Active, sports and leisure provider in Warwickshire, have had all general managers and front of house staff attending dementia awareness training. They have also encouraged all of the staff to become dementia friends and developed a programme of dementia friendly swimming sessions with separate lane provided for the swimmers. The sessions are facilitated by a swimming instructor who has a sound awareness of supporting people with dementia. Carers can attend the session as well or can have a break in the café area.

If you would like more details on how to sign up to become dementia friendly and/or if you wish to join the regional Dementia Action Alliance, please email dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk or visit Dementia Friendly Communities section on Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Portal: www.livingwellwithdementia.org

You can also follow us on Twitter: @DementiaCandW

A Day in the Life of.. a Dementia Navigator


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My name is Sue Acton and I am a Dementia Navigator working in North Warwickshire.

It’s 9am and I’m heading off to my first client visit of the day. My patch is quite large and a bit of a distance from my home – I cover all of North Warwickshire, including Nuneaton, but live in Leamington Spa – and I need to be in Atherstone for 10am. My briefcase is loaded up with client notes and lots of brochures and factsheets. As well as Alzheimer’s Society material I like to take along relevant information from other organisations such as Age UK and Guideposts Trust, plus details of local dementia services such as a Carer’s Café run by a local GP practice.

My first clients are long standing service users, a couple in their 80s called Mary and Fred. I chat with both Mary and Fred for a while, and then with just Mary. Fred, who cares full time for Mary, takes the opportunity to relax for an hour on his own, knowing Mary is safe – even a short break like this can make all the difference. Mary and I talk about her children and her time as a wartime evacuee, but after a while she becomes emotional – she is terrified of ‘going mad’ and being ‘put away’. Despite the difficulties, it’s clear there is a lot of love between her and Fred. I agree a date for another visit and ask Fred to keep me posted on his Community Care Assessment – I’m concerned that Fred needs more support in his role as carer.

It’s now approaching lunchtime and I have an hour before my next visit, and so I grab a sandwich and coffee at a nearby garden centre. I write up my notes – having an iPad makes it so much easier to keep on top of things when I’m out all day – and also call my boss to discuss a couple of things, including my taking part in a post diagnostic support group set up by the Memory Service team in Nuneaton.

At 1pm it’s time for my second home visit of the day in Coleshill – a new client referred to us by one of our volunteers. Joan cares full time for Roger, and is finding things extremely tough. I simply listen for a while as Joan tells me her story, something that a lot of people want to do at the first meeting. As well as dementia, Roger has a number of physical problems that are in many ways harder to manage, and mean Joan cannot leave the house for more than an hour. I learn that Roger served in the army, and so I agree to look into services provided by The Royal British Legion which may be of use. I also encourage Joan to approach social services for further support. I leave feeling I haven’t been of much use, at least for now.

Today is slightly unusual in that I have a third visit late afternoon – I am meeting Andrew and his son Liam to discuss his wife Kate’s recent diagnosis. Kate and Andrew are relatively young and Andrew still works full time, hence the later than usual meeting. We are getting together in a café in Nuneaton as Andrew feels it would be helpful for him to be able to talk freely.

Again I have an hour before the meeting and so I fire up the iPad – I want to research Roger’s medical condition as it’s not something I have heard of before. I also catch up with some emails and remind myself of Kate and Andrew’s details, as well as adding them to the list of younger clients I am compiling – as a Navigator team we are looking at how we can meet the needs of younger people with dementia and will be inviting them to a meeting to get their views.

At 4pm I track down Andrew and Liam in the café, after the inevitable embarrassment of approaching the wrong people first. We have a long chat covering a whole range of topics, from the genetics of Alzheimer’s to Kate’s symptoms, to the practicalities of Andrew sorting out Power of Attorney to enable him to make decisions for Kate when she is no longer able to do so. I agree to speak to a colleague at Guideposts with whom Andrew has already spoken, and to send some information about our CRISP programme. I also provide various factsheets as well as details of support groups in the area. We will meet again next month.

It’s been a long day, and I head home. Tomorrow I’ll be in the Leamington office all day, writing up the rest of my notes and following up agreed actions. Although this isn’t the easiest job at times and I find it tough when I can’t ‘fix’ things for people, equally I absolutely love it – as well as the satisfaction of helping others, I love meeting such a variety of people and the fact no two days are the same.

To find out more about Warwickshire’s Dementia Navigators’ service please contact Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire on 01926 888 899 or email dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk 

(The photographs used on this website are for illustrative purposes only)

Dementia Cafés in Warwickshire


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People with dementia often say that following the diagnosis they loose the confidence to socialise. Family members often feel left out and experience social isolation, due to the impact that the caring role has on their time and relationships.

Dementia cafés are drop-in centres offering a friendly and safe environment, where people living with dementia, and their family and friends, can come to meet others who are in the same boat, have a chat over a cup of coffee, share experiences and information, and learn about support available in their local communities.

Dementia cafés offer sessions with speakers from a range of organisations covering a variety of topics that help to support individuals living with dementia, their spouses, partners or children. The cafés can also provide a range of fun activities including singing and playing games from the past.


Dementia café near me

To find a dementia café that is local to you please visits Warwickshire Directory of services. Below is also a list of local dementia cafés, and contact details for any enquiries.

Dementia Café
Waverley Day Centre, 65 Waverley Road, Kenilworth, CV8 1JL
Contact: Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire, Tel: 01926 888899

The Little Ray of Sunshine
The Kenilworth Centre, Kenilworth
Contact: Tel: 01926 855205

The Memory Café
Woodloes Tavern, Woodloes Avenue South, Warwick, CV34 5RN
Contact: Paul Murren, Tel: 01926 490327

Singing for the Brain
BRUNSWICK HEALTHY LIVING CENTRE, 98-100 Shrubland Street, Leamington Spa, CV31 3BD
Contact: Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire, Tel: 01926 888899

Musical Memories at The Moorings
The Moorings Bar and Restaurant, Myton Road, Leamington Spa, CV31 3NY
Contact: Age UK Warwickshire, Tel: 01926 458100

Waverley Dementia Carers Group
Waverley Day Centre, Waverley Road, Kenilworth, CV8 1JL
Contact: Waverley Day Centre, Tel: 01926 858433

Dementia Café
Blackdown Priors House, Old Milverton Lane, Blackdown, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW
Contact: Tel: 0333 321 1924

Dementia Café
St Andrew’s Church, Church Lane, Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 9HQ
Contact: Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire, Tel: 01926 888899

Bishopton Primary School Community Centre, Drayton Avenue, Stratford upon Avon,
CV37 9PB
Contact: Warwickshire Reminiscence Action Project, Tel: 0780 3729894

Dementia Café
Stour Court, Shipston-on-Stour, CV36 4HF
Contact: Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire, Tel: 01926 888899

Alcester Café
The Jubilee Centre, Jubilee Hall, (off St Faith’s Road), Alcester, B49 6AG
Contact: Alcester Dementia Café, Tel: 01789 488088

Stour Valley Dementia Carers’ Group
Ellen Badger Hospital, Stratford Road, Shipston on Stour, CV36 4AX
Contact: Stour Valley Carers Support Group, Tel: 01608 663808 or 01608 686013

Dementia Café
The Oasis, 1st floor, Rugby Health and Wellbeing Centre, Drover Close, Rugby, CV21 3HX
Contact: Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire, Tel: 01926 888899

Friday Friends
The Garden Room, Bulkington Village Centre, Bulkington, CV12 9JB
Contact: Bulkington Surgery, Tel: 02476 733020

What other people said:

Dementia café offers good social interaction.

The café is a very good resource of information and is very supportive.

Warwickshire’s 10,000 Dementia Friends Challenge – a call to action!

Warwickshire now has over 7,000 Dementia Friends, which is a huge achievement.  But we still need your support to reach our target of 10,000 Dementia Friends in Warwickshire by the end of June.

Please help us to create a more Dementia Friendly Warwickshire and become a Dementia Friend today! If you are already a Dementia Friend, you could encourage someone else to get involved.

It takes just five minutes to become a Dementia Friend; just follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/
  2. Go to ‘Register and watch the video’
  3. Enter your details on the website
  4. Watch the video
  5. Add your address and a Dementia Friend badge and Little Book of Friendship will then be sent through the post.

It’s as simple as that – become a Dementia Friend today!

If you use Twitter, please let us know that you have got involved:

@WCCPublicHealth            @DementiaCandW

Dementia Friends Information Sessions can be delivered at one of your informal meetings, among a group of friends or at work.

Sessions last up to one hour. If you would like to enquire about holding a session for people you know (provided they are based in Coventry or Warwickshire), please contact us on dementiapartnership at warwickshire.gov.uk

Thank you for your support!

Musical Memories at The Moorings – new Dementia Cafe in Leamington Spa

Musical Memories at The Moorings

Are you living or caring for someone with Dementia? If so the Musical Memories Café could be for you.

The café aims to:

  • Support people, their families and carers living with memory problems.
  • Recognize the importance music can play in bridging memories.
  • Encourage socialising with others in similar circumstances.
  • Enable carers to share experiences, emotions and understanding.

What activities can I expect?

  • Listening to and joining musicians and volunteers in ‘making music’.
  • Sharing experiences and emotions in relaxed, informal surroundings.

What does it cost?

The café is FREE.

Where does the Café operate?

The Moorings Bar and Restaurant,

Myton Road, Leamington Spa, CV31 3NY


10.00am-12.00pm the last Monday every month (except bank holidays)

If you are interested in attending, please contact Age UK Warwickshire for further information:

Telephone: 01926 458100

Living with Dementia – Kevin’s story

My name is Hilary and I am married to Kevin, who lives with Alzheimer’s.

We have been together for the last 46 years – and they have been quite eventful!  We have moved house numerous times, and lived in Australia for 6 years, 4 of them in a remote iron ore mining town on the edge of the Gibson dessert. In 1978 we returned to England with our two daughters who were born in Perth, Western Australia, became foster parents to five teenagers, and adopted a baby with Downs Syndrome.  In the space of three years our family grew from the 4 of us to 10.  Life was busy to say the least!

Our Christian faith is central to our lives, and for 10 years Kevin was the Pastor of an Independent Baptist church in Southend-on-Sea.  Towards the latter part of his ministry there it was becoming obvious that he was having problems with his memory, and whereas it had never been a problem for him to prepare and preach a sermon, things were becoming more and more difficult.  Coupled with the memory problems Kevin also had a sleep disorder, and would often fall asleep at work without realising it.

After various tests at the local hospital, we were informed that it was unlikely that Kevin would work again. We decided to downsize and re-located back to Leamington, where several members of our family lived. There was also a specialist home nearby which could cater for our special needs son, who by this time was in his early 20s.

There was now just the two of us living in a retirement flat.  Kevin had many tests to try and pinpoint what was causing his memory problems, which by this time were getting steadily worse, but no specific diagnosis was given, which Kevin found very frustrating.

Our main source of help and support came from the Alzheimer’s Society, and during one ‘cafe’ we were approached by a Consultant, who, after talking to us both, arranged for Kevin to be seen by Dr. A at a local mental health centre.  Even though Kevin had been on medication for Alzheimer’s prescribed by our GP, he still hadn’t been given a reason why he was on this.

After many years of not knowing what was really happening, Dr. A finally told Kevin that he had Alzheimer’s.  For many people that would be a real shock, but for Kevin it was a relief.  At long last we had a concrete reason for the difficulties he had been experiencing.  Alzheimer’s is not a diagnosis anyone wants to have, but sometimes knowing that there is something wrong, but not knowing what, is even more difficult.

Eleven years have now past since Kevin had to stop working, and although the illness has inevitably progressed, he is still able to enjoy some measure of independence.  One of the most useful tools he uses is a card made for him by the local Alzheimer’s Society stating that he has Alzheimer’s disease.  When he goes to the local shops, he shows a member of staff the card and they accompany him round the shop to make sure that he gets the right things on his shopping list, and help sort out his money.  The staff in these shops have been really helpful, and Kevin no longer has to worry about getting the wrong thing, or forgetting something altogether.  Full marks to all the establishments who have signed up to become Dementia Friendly – it makes a huge difference to the lives of both those with dementia and their carers!

We have trialled a few tracking devices over the past few years, none of which have been very successful, and although the new smart phones can incorporate a tracking system, these types of phones are far too difficult for people with dementia to use.

Kevin has a special phone made by Doro.  It only has 4 buttons, marked A,B, C&D, next to which you can write a person’s name.  For him A is home, B is my mobile, C is his brother, & D is one of our daughters. It also has an SOS button for emergencies.  At the moment Kevin can still use this (usually!) and it means we can keep in contact with each other if he goes out.

Life does not have to end when dementia begins but it can often bring many difficulties. Ever the optimist, Kevin often says ‘well it doesn’t hurt’; physically that may be so, but psychologically things are much harder.

When someone tells you they have Alzheimer’s or dementia NEVER say ‘I can’t see anything wrong with you’ or ‘Oh we all forget things’.  You wouldn’t say that to someone who told you they had cancer, or some other illness, so just try to listen and treat people with kindness!

If you would like to learn more about Hilary and Kevin’s experiences of living with dementia, please visit Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Portal’ Dementia Friendly Communities page and watch the short Dementia Friendly Warwickshire video clip. 


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