This week (May 31 – June 6) is Dementia Awareness Week and Alzheimer Scotland is calling on the local community to get involved and show support for those living with the condition, as well as their carers and loved ones.
Local dementia resource centres are at the heart of Scotland’s community dementia support and Dundee and Fife each have their own dedicated centres providing advice and information to those who need it.
The centres are run by Alzheimer Scotland and offer various services and activities to help promote socialising, peer support and ‘living well’ with dementia.
Nikki Lorimer, Alzheimer Scotland’s localities lead for Tayside, Fife and the Scottish Borders, is in charge of overseeing the Dundee Dementia Resource Centre.
Nikki says: “Pre-Covid, all of our services and activities were delivered at our Resource Centre.
“It was a place for people with dementia and their carers to come to for information, support and advice.
“Our team of dementia advisers provided carer support in an enabling way, so the carers felt enabled to support that person with the diagnosis to live well with dementia.”
As well as offering practical support and advice, the Resource Centre also provided social activities which had a real impact on those living with dementia and their families.
“What callers are telling us on many occasions is that services and supports are not available at this time due to the restrictions, and with NHS-24 they are unable to get through or have to wait extremely long times on hold due to the demand on their service” #dementiawareness pic.twitter.com/AztFiYOXeH
— Alzheimer Scotland (@alzscot) June 2, 2021
Nikki explains: “Our community activities included really popular music and memory sessions, football memories, indoor bowling.
“We also held very successful Boogie In The Bar sessions, which was essentially a disco in the afternoon.
“It was just an opportunity for people with dementia, their carers and their families to come along and enjoy an afternoon of dancing, listening to music, have a drink – everything you or I would do if we went to a bar.
“I always used to think when you walked into a Boogie session it was like there was no dementia in the room. You couldn’t tell the person who had the diagnosis from the carers or the family members and even to some extent from volunteers.
“It was a really happy experience. It just allowed couples to be couples.”
Since Covid-19 hit, the Dundee centre has had to move much of its support online. The dedicated team have been phoning clients and running their community sessions digitally, to keep members connected with the charity and each other.
What is dementia?
Around 90,000 people live with dementia in Scotland. Dementia is a set of symptoms such as memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language.
It mostly affects people older than 65, but an estimated 3,000 people in Scotland are diagnosed at a younger age.
It is a progressive condition, which means over time the symptoms become more pronounced and harder to cope with.
Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes.
These cause the brain to lose nerve cells, which cannot be replaced and as more nerve cells die, this can lead to shrinking of the brain.
Dementia is a growing issue and campaigns such as Dementia Awareness Week serve as a reminder of the challenges presented by the condition and the ways we can help those impacted in the community.
There are many easy ways you can lend your support during Dementia Awareness Week:
- Download the Forget-Me-Not template and pledge your support here.
- Become a Dementia Friend to understand more about dementia and the small things you could do to help – find our more here.
- Make your area safer for people with dementia by downloading Purple Alert, a community minded app for people with dementia if they are missing. Download the app here.
- You can also donate much-needed funds to the Dundee Resource Centre at their JustGiving page.