Read our latest guest blog post, sharing the good work from Northern Ireland:Dementia NI was set up by five people living with a diagnosis of dementia. The organisation was founded on 15 January 2015 to provide a voice for people who are living with a diagnosis of dementia and to reach out to others who have dementia.
Today Dementia NI is a membership organisation led by people with dementia who are developing empowerment groups across Northern Ireland. Members attend empowerment meetings as well as travel in their local area to give talks at events. Some members are unable to attend regular meetings but will continue our work by contributing at external meetings and groups, giving talks and sharing their experiences.
• Challenge the stigma of having a diagnosis by raising awareness about dementia
• Promote the rights of people living with dementia to influence policy, practice and service delivery across Northern Ireland
• Provide training, education and awareness to organisations and the public on how to live well with dementia
• Support people living with dementia to lobby and raise awareness of dementia in their own right.
Tara Collins, Dementia NI Programme Manager –
“Dementia NI couldn’t emphasise enough the importance of receiving an early diagnosis. A diagnosis of a dementia can often be difficult to digest however Dementia NI believe that life does not end after diagnosis. Receiving an explanation for your symptoms, and learning what can be done to assist, may help to reduce some of the anxiety caused by not knowing and enable a person to make the relevant changed to assist their daily living.
We would encourage the individuals to seek help as soon as possible to ensure they are able to access appropriate treatment and relevant services and support, to enable them to live independently with a good quality of life. A timely diagnosis can give individuals the opportunity to take control of their future and make their own decisions regarding financial issues and their care and support in the future.
There is support and advice available after a diagnosis. Dementia NI offer peer support to people recently diagnosed and signpost to relevant services and support from health services, social services and relevant voluntary organisations.
Dementia have five groups now established throughout Northern Ireland and welcome people living with dementia to become involved.
Many of our members recognise the benefits of being involved including the satisfaction from knowing that they are making positive changes to services, policies and attitudes, learning new skills, staying actively involved in the local community, alleviating isolation and boredom and sharing experiences and offering support to each other and improving mood and overall well-being.”
Support each other
Group members support each other through friendship and understanding, particularly after a recent diagnosis of dementia.
Influence policy and development of good practice
By engaging with various organisations throughout Northern Ireland, we inform them of how to make their services, policies and practice more suitable for people living with dementia.
Raise awareness and challenge the stigma
Members help influence how people can still live with dementia. Group members challenge the stigma attached to a diagnosis by raising awareness. Through training and education, the members tell others what it is like living with dementia.
Empower others with dementia
The Dementia NI groups which run throughout Northern Ireland, empower people living with dementia to have a voice, remain active and part of their community.
For more information on Dementia NI, check out our website at http://www.dementiani.org
Contact us on Tel: 02890 686768 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Find us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/DementiaNI
Find us on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/Dementia_NI
What Dementia NI members say:
“We have a very important job to do in challenging the stigma. While I have dementia, I can still do things for myself and make decisions; I just need society to allow me the time to do it in my way. I don’t know how much time I have but I do know that we need to be challenging the stigma of dementia and that is what we plan to do through Dementia NI.” – John
I felt that I had no real problems. I didn’t even pay attention to things. When I was diagnosed, I didn’t bother telling people, I felt that is was no big deal for a good while. It was when I joined relevant groups like Dementia NI that I realised that the support was here and I thought – Well, I’ll go with it.” – Pat
“I haven’t sourced any services; however, the Dementia NI group is very important. It gets me out of the house and gets me meeting with people. It’s great to get to share with others whatever you are doing, share your problems, share experiences, share the craic… From that point of view, I look forward to it.” – Doreen
“A diagnosis doesn’t mean you can no longer do something, you might just have to do it in a different way.” – Liz
“I don’t want to be the face of people living with dementia in Northern Ireland, I want them to speak for themselves.”– Liz
“After my diagnosis, the relief that there was someone out there to help and understand me was so overwhelming. I wasn’t alone anymore and that was such a fantastic feeling. I enjoy coming along to the groups, it’s the perfect opportunity for us to socialise, to share experiences and have my thoughts and opinions heard. The group has given me the confidence to feel proud of myself and make me feel that I have a place in society again.” – Anne
Anne has also written a blog post about how joining Dementia NI has changed her life, which you can read here.