Get involved and support Dementia Awareness Week, 17-23 May
Many people worry that developing dementia would prevent them from enjoying new experiences so this Dementia Awareness Week, the Alzheimer’s Society is highlighting that life doesn’t have to end because dementia begins and is encouraging people to do something new.
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society says, “People post selfies on social media every day to tell their friends and followers about exciting things they’re doing. An Alzheimer’s Society’s survey exposed that people’s lives are often more run-of-the-mill and less adventurous than the impression given out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Taking part in new activities is important for everyone. It helps build confidence, enhance emotional well-being and creates positive memories. As dementia progresses, a person’s ability to do challenging, new activities reduces, but they still experience joy and pleasure – like anyone else. Even the simplest things can help people with dementia feel connected to the world and the people who matter most. While they may not remember the details, the positive emotions remain. That’s why Alzheimer’s Society works tirelessly to help those affected by dementia stay connected through our services and support.”
A host of other Alzheimer’s Society celebrity spokespeople are supporting this year’s Dementia Awareness Week including Carey Mulligan, Frank Lampard, Ruth Langsford, Vicky McClure, Sir Tony Robinson, Christopher Eccleston, Linda Robson, Si King, Graham Norton, Richard Madeley, Laura Haddock, Arlene Phillips, John Altman, Iwan Rheon, Fiona Phillips and Maria Shriver.
We were lucky enough to chat to Arlene Phillips to find more about this great cause and how people can get involved:
Why is supporting Dementia Awareness so important to you?
My father had dementia and I want to reach out and help others who find themselves in the same situation.
What involvement do you have this year?
I’m always ready to help raise awareness about Alzheimer’s Society and dementia and will do whatever I can. This year I’m visiting Alzheimer’s Society head office to support Dementia Awareness Week’s #DoSomethingNew campaign by teaching the members of staff a disco dance routine.
How can people offer their support?
Alzheimer’s Society are asking people to #DoSomethingNew this Dementia Awareness Week to help spread the word that life doesn’t end when dementia begins. To join in and support the campaign, choose something to try for the first time, and then post about it on social media using the hashtags #DoSomethingNew and #DAW2015.
You’ve worked with many celebrities, who was your favourite?
I adored Freddie Mercury.
What is your proudest moment?
Emotionally having my children, professionally receiving my CBE.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on a show about the songbook of Judy Garland with her daughter Lorna Luft. And you might have heard that I’ll be taking part in Masterchef this summer.
If you could go back and do something differently, what would it be?
I would have stayed at school longer.
You always look fabulous! How do you manage it?
I’m lucky, I have a daughter who is a make-up artist so she is always on hand to do my make-up.
What makes you laugh?
Comedians like Steve Coogan, Paul Whitehouse and Rob Brydon.
Three words to describe you?
Busy little bee.
You can contact Arlene through Twitter @arlenephillips
Dementia Awareness week runs from 17-23 May. To find out more visit www.alzheimers.org.uk. Alzheimer’s Society has a national helpline and you can call them on 0300 222 11 22.
Joyce, from Gloucestershire, is the daughter of Margaret Sun (89) who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2012. Speaking about her mother’s dementia, Joyce said:
“After my mother’s diagnosis, I was determined to help her have the best quality of life and asked her to make a list of things she still wanted to do or experience. To my surprise, mum said she had always wanted to go on a safari.
“People told us that there was no point taking her on a safari trip because she wouldn’t remember. That’s not the point. People with dementia can still experience enjoyment in life. From the moment we arrived in Kenya we noticed a change in mum’s behaviour and her character blossomed. It gave us so much pleasure seeing her enjoy the trip and we were overwhelmed with the impact the safari adventure had on her.”
Speaking about her grandfather’s dementia, singer Lily Allen said:
“I shared some great times with my Grandad and one of my fondest memories was travelling to Hamburg with him to watch our beloved Fulham FC play in the Europa League final. While dementia is a cruel disease, people can still enjoy experiences, even as their memory fades. That’s why I’m supporting Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Awareness Week. Life doesn’t have to end when dementia begins so why not get involved in highlighting this important issue by ‘Doing Something New’ during Dementia Awareness Week.”