Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Living with dementia – the true picture

Older People’s Day

West Sussex County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith was guest speaker at a countywide event on the impact of dementia on both those with the illness and their families.

Louise Goldsmith explained how the County Council and its partner organisations aim to help its older residents, particularly those with dementia, as part of the West Co-operative.

She said: “There was such a positive buzz to the event with everyone coming to share knowledge and experiences, and I could not help feeling how lucky we are in West Sussex to have such individuals working in the dementia care sector.”

Members of the HOPE group shared their experiences of having the dementia-related illnesses or caring for someone with it.

HOPE group member Graham Browne, who was diagnosed with Pick’s Disease at the age of 49, said: “You’ve got to get on with life…we have nothing on our heads to say we’ve got Pick’s [or other forms of dementia], talk to us like you would to normal people.”

Louise added: “Carers are the unsung heroes in West Sussex. They care sometimes at the expense of their own health to look after a loved one, whether young or old. It can be very tough at times and often people have a sense of isolation.

“As a carer once shared with me – it’s not the big things but the little things such as having a chat, someone popping in to have a cup of tea and sharing time together. So if you know a carer please show you care.”

The ‘Dementia Care Showcase Education Day’ event in Billingshurst, hosted by Sussex Community NHS Trust, also included workshops. One showed a range of memory cards called ‘Many Happy Returns’ which have been created to help those with dementia to reminisce and talk to people about their memories.

To watch a film about dementia visit www.westsussex.gov.uk and search ‘West Sussex Videos’ (video under ‘People’ section), or for more information visit http://alzheimers.org.uk or www.scie.org.uk.