On Friday 26th January Fiona Andrews gave us a very full and complete coverage of both dementia itself and how the work of Dementia forward is there to provide help and support.
Fiona herself worked in the police service for nearly 30 years and in her last few years became increasing involved in developing strategies to deal with the dementia problems that came her way. She delivered the projects to the Prime Minister’s Champion Group and was invited to Parliament to celebrate the first year of their ‘dementia friendly status’. Consequently, when she left the police force it seemed an obvious step for her to work in the area of dementia – to use her own words – to join the ‘best dementia charity’.
Fiona started by explaining the way dementia develops and also the different forms that it can take, Alzheimer’s (the best known and commonest form – around 60%), Vascular, Parkinson’s, Fronto-temporal, dementia with Lewy bodies, but pointed out that there are many other types: all with their particular causes and symptoms. She also went on to describe life-styles which could help to defend against the onset of the disease.
The work of Dementia Forward was emphasised and the way it focussed on dealing with people in a very specific way, depending on the individual concerned; a very ‘hands on’ approach to every person referred to them. In addition to this individual support Dementia Forward also offer Well-being Cafes, Singing for Fun and a range of Hub Clubs which alone offer some 400 places each month.
Overall, we were given an extremely thought-provoking and informative presentation by a person both knowledgeable about and devoted to the work she does. The effect on the audience an also be indicated by the variety of questions and the number of members who spoke to Fiona after the end of the talk.