This week is Dementia Awareness Week, which looks to raise awareness of this debilitating disease. Dementia is an incurable disease that can strip you of your most cherished memories, your relationships and your identity – leaving you feeling isolated and alone. This does not have to be the case. This year, the Alzheimer’s society, who heads up Dementia Awareness Week, are promoting the idea that Dementia sufferers can #DoSomethingNew. The campaign hopes to spread the idea that life does not have to end when dementia begins.
The University of Manchester has teamed up with Dementia Friends, a programme that tries to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way people think, talk and act about the condition. Kate Middleton, Admin Support Manager in the Faculty, is a volunteer Dementia Champion. She says:
“I became a Dementia Champion as I have personally been affected from a family member living with dementia; this initiative by the Alzheimer’s Society is to change society’s negative perceptions of dementia as people living with the condition can experience loneliness and social exclusion. As a Dementia Champion volunteer, I talk to people to hopefully give them a better understanding of dementia and ask them to consider the small things that they can do to make the difference to people living with condition. People can then turn their understanding of dementia into practical action by becoming a ‘Dementia Friend’ and help in creating dementia-friendly communities. Being a ‘Dementia Friend’ doesn’t mean you have to commit to doing something time-consuming, every small action counts – such as behaving patiently with someone showing signs of dementia – or helping or supporting a friend or relative affected by dementia. By raising awareness in society through talking about dementia, we can enable people living with the condition to go about their daily lives and feel part of their community.”
To find out more about the way this Faculty is helping to tackle the disease, watch our Life Science Broadcast on the topic: