This week (1st – 7th June) marks Dementia Awareness Week, and serves as an important reminder that more must be done to raise the profile of dementia, and the impact it can have on people and families across Scotland. The recent Dementia Carer Voices report illustrated that 79% of carers for people living with dementia feel that others do not understand or appreciate the issues they face in their caring role. The report, based on the experiences of 160 carers, highlighted the need for more clear information to help deepen people’s understanding of dementia in our society.
This need for greater understanding is a key driver behind the Dementia Carer Voices project’s ‘You Can Make a Difference’ campaign. The team have been taking the campaign across Scotland to highlight that no matter what their role, everyone has the potential to transform the lives and experiences of people living with dementia and their carers, often in seemingly small ways. The project has undertaken an extensive outreach programme of awareness talks, which involve Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw sharing his own personal experiences from caring for his late mum, Joan, and the experiences of others who have shared their stories with the project in the hopes of improving the experiences of people with dementia, their families and carers. The campaign allows people the opportunity to reflect on these personal stories and make a pledge to make a positive difference in their professional and indeed personal lives.
Some of the pledges received so far include;
“My pledge is to understand dementia find out the stories behind the person with dementia.”
“I pledge to listen and have more knowledge so I can help my brother in law at this time of need”
The campaign has now gathered a landmark 4000 pledges from people across the country promising to make a difference in the lives of people with dementia, their families and carers. The campaign recognises the role that each individual can play in ensuring that people living with dementia and their carers are appreciated and acknowledged as full and equal citizens, who must be treated with compassion, understanding, dignity and respect at all times. These principles underpin the Charter of Rights for People Living with Dementia and their Carers , which outlines the minimum level of care people are entitled to, and serves as a powerful tool for driving improvements and holding bodies to account.
Dementia Awareness Week provides the perfect opportunity for people to think on what they can do in their own lives, and to make a pledge to make a positive difference in the lives of people with dementia and their carers. To submit a pledge please contact the Dementia Carer Voices project team at firstname.lastname@example.org
The full collection of pledges can be viewed on the Dementia Carer Voices website at www.dementiacarervoices.wordpress.com
Thank you Irene, Tommy, Sarah and Laura