Volunteers needed to spread the word about dementia

Written by Tony Millett.

Anyone who caught Maureen Lipman’s BBC1 programme If Memory Serves Me Right on Thursday evening (April 18) will have learnt that the grey scale from memory loss to dementia needs to be talked about and understood.

Wiltshire charity Alzheimer’s Support is taking action on this growing problem and is on the lookout for volunteers in the Marlborough area to help raise awareness of dementia.

These volunteers will help local people understand more about memory loss and the importance of getting an accurate diagnosis - if there is a problem. They will receive training before linking up with GPs surgeries, libraries and other venues to ensure information is available.

They will also arrange talks to community groups and about the differences between normal ageing and dementia, the benefits of being diagnosed and the how to live well with dementia.

Annie Clayton (in front) with volunteers Annie Clayton (in front) with volunteers The project is one of just ten across the country to win funding from Comic Relief.  It follows a survey by Alzheimer’s Support last year which revealed people in Wiltshire wait an average of sixteen months before going to their GP with symptoms of memory loss.

Volunteer co-ordinator Annie Clayton knows from Alzheimer Support’s own research that many people with early dementia don’t seek help because they think their symptoms are a normal part of ageing.  But: “There are also people in Wiltshire who are desperately worried about their memories when in fact what they are experiencing is normal. We want to get the right information out to people and this project is a great way to do it.”

“We have been so encouraged by the volunteers who have come forward so far.  We have recruited a great team in West Wiltshire and Devizes but need more in the Marlborough area. This is really rewarding role for the right person and we will ensure all our volunteers are given the support and training they need to be able to make a difference.”

The project has received additional funds from Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire. There are currently about 6,700 people with dementia in the Wiltshire PCT area.  Of those just thrity-five per cent have a diagnosis, well below the national average.

If you want to volunteer who know someone else who might like to volunteer, or to find out more about the project, contact Stephany or Annie on 01225 776481 or go to Alzheimers Support’s website.