Illness in the spotlight during Dementia Awareness Week

Dementia sufferer Janet Martin and her husband and carer Tony Martin at the Dementia Resource Centre at Lincoln Road EMN-160517-140910009

Dementia sufferer Janet Martin and her husband and carer Tony Martin at the Dementia Resource Centre at Lincoln Road EMN-160517-140910009

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Suffering from dementia often means being plunged into a confusing world but a series of events have been held to mark dementia awareness week to make the issue a little clearer.

Dementia awareness week runs until tomorrow with events still taking place today to bring the disease into the spotlight.

Janet Martin, 73, of Townsend Road, Wittering, is one of those suffering from the disease.

She said that getting an early diagnosis has helped her to remain active and lead a relatively normal life.

A big part of that is played by the Dementia Resource Centre in Lincoln Road, Peterborough, which opened in September 2014.

Accompanied by husband Tony, 69, Janet is a regular visitor and takes part in activities such as arts and crafts, yoga and the 
comedy club.

“There’s something on every day,” she said. “It’s a wonderful place and we are lucky here to have a place like that to go to.

“I don’t know what I’d do without this place. There’s always somebody to talk to and we’re here so often. Housework goes by the board.”

As soon as she noticed she was having trouble remembering things, Janet went to the doctor.

She says the diagnosis was, of course, “upsetting” but is determined to look to the future.

“I still have a normal life and we go out and about and do more or less the same things we’ve always done, which is good.

“Hopefully it won’t get much worse but we will have to cross that bridge when we come to it. I want to think positively.

“If I had not gone to see the doctor about it, it would not have been as good today.

“You have a better quality of life if you admit there’s something wrong.”

Husband Tony is also a big fan of the Dementia Resource Centre. He said: “We love this place. It’s good for Janet, but it’s also good for me. I meet up with other carers and it boosts my confidence.”

Life, though, is not quite as easy for Tony as it was in the past.

He added: “It gets a bit rough but we are getting through it. I need to remind her about little things. It’s no hardship, I just have to remind her what we are doing today.

“She might say something to me one minute, then 10 minutes later ask the same question.”

There are still further events being held for Dementia Awareness Week.

Today (May 20), there will be an information stand at Serpentine Green, Hargate Way, Peterborough, all day.

On Saturday, (May 21), from 10am to 1pm, an open morning is being held at the Dementia Resource Centre at 441 Lincoln Road.

On Monday, May 23, from noon to 4pm, a tea dance is being held at Thorpe Hall Hospice, Thorpe Road, Longthorpe, Peterborough.

Rutland County Council is also involved with the week.

An event providing advice about the equipment and technology that can assist dementia patients is being held at Rutland Memorial Hospital today between 9am and 1pm.

This is followed by a reminiscence session, with people encouraged to join in by sharing memory boxes and objects that remind them of their past.

Rutland Reminders will also hold a special sing-along session from 3.30pm to 5pm today (May 20), bringing people together by singing old, well-loved songs.

Portfolio holder for health and social care Richard Clifton (Con) said: “Dementia is a condition that affects people in very a personal way – impairing their ability to remember and communicate.

“However, it is possible to live well with dementia and there are a lot of support services here in Rutland designed specifically to help.”

Rutland County Council has a dedicated Memory Advisor, Tamara Pachner.

She said: “Getting the right advice is vital in allowing people who experience memory issues to stay healthy, independent and improve their quality of life.

“Seeking help can often seem like a big step but we’re here to support you if you have memory difficulties, live with dementia or care for someone who does.

“If you can’t make it along to one of the information sessions but would like to know more, you can contact us directly for advice or support.”

The Orders of St John Care Trust, which runs over 15 care homes across Lincolnshire, has also been supporting the week with a variety of events, including healthy walking, sensory and life-story reminiscence activities.

And Stamford Library will also host a short talk by a healthcare professional today between 11am and 2pm. They’re also available from 10am until 4pm to give information and advice to anyone who wants to know more about living and coping with friends and family suffering with dementia.

Meanwhile, in Bourne, Sortified we will be running a series of dementia walks this year for people who live in or around Bourne and who are affected by dementia.

The walks are funded by Comic Relief.

To find out more visit www.facebook.com/sortified. If you want more information or if you would like to express an interest in joining a walk or booking a session call Richard at richard@sortified.com or on 07738435957.