Horsham boost to campaign to ease isolation of people with dementia

Tim Wilkins, Alzheimer's Society service user, and members of the Horsham Rusty Brains at Warnham Park in 2018.
Tim Wilkins, Alzheimer's Society service user, and members of the Horsham Rusty Brains at Warnham Park in 2018.

Horsham is playing its part in a new campaign aimed at easing isolation felt by people living with dementia.

A garden party with live music and cream tea is to be held at Warnham Park on Saturday to mark Dementia Action Week.

The event is one of a number being staged across the county as part of a campaign by the Alzheimer’s Society dubbed #AskUsAnything.

It urges people in West Sussex - where there are 14,100 people living with dementia - to include people with dementia and start a conversation. The campaign is under way as research shows that despite almost all of us knowing someone affected by the condition, two thirds of people living with dementia report feeling isolated and lonely.

People living with dementia have starred in a video to answer questions that are busting myths and showing that people with dementia are still the same people.

As part of the #AskUsAnything campaign, everyone is urged to share the video – that will appear on Alzheimer’s Society’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and in cinemas across the UK – throughout Dementia Action Week (May 20-26).

The Alzheimer’s Society says public awkwardness and anxiety play a part in the isolation that people living with dementia experience – over half of the general public reported that they didn’t feel confident inviting someone with dementia to a meal at home.

In the UK, one person develops dementia every three minutes so small acts of kindness such as calling a relative with dementia, visiting a neighbour or becoming a Dementia Friend, can help towards creating a dementia-friendly generation.

Sue Rennie, area services manager for Alzheimer’s Society in West Sussex, said: “Many people are worried about ‘saying the wrong thing’ to someone with dementia, yet a friendly face or listening ear can make the world of difference.

“Even in the later stages of dementia when having a conversation might become difficult, keeping in touch can bring feelings of happiness and comfort, especially as the ‘emotional memory’ remains with them long after the memory of the visit may have gone.

“We all have a role in West Sussex to help create a dementia-friendly generation, changing the way people think, talk and act about dementia. There are currently around 2.8 million Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends in the UK and 400 dementia-friendly businesses and communities.

“We are here to support anyone affected by dementia and it can start by finding a local event near you this Dementia Action Week. Unite with us now at alzheimers.org.uk/DAW.”

Local events throughout West Sussex for Dementia Action Week include:

Saturday - May 18 – Warnham Park Garden Party & Cream Tea - Warnham Deer Park, near Horsham RH12 3RP - 2.30 to 4.30pm. Kicking off with live music from Tideway Folk Group, Lawn Games, a Museum Tour and a Bake-Off Competition

Monday May 20 – Weald and Downland Museum dementia friendly day, Chichester - all day.

Monday May 20 – Horsham Library for a Dementia Information Drop in - 10.30am-1pm

Tuesday May 21 – Hurstpierpoint Library Dementia Information Drop in - 10.30am-1pm

Tuesday May 21 – Horsham Carers Support Group Cream Tea - New House Farm, Strawberry Fields Tea Room, Crawley Road, RH12 4RU – (with entertainment) 2.30pm - 4.30pm

Wednesday 22 – Littlehampton Library - Dementia Information Drop in 10.30am -1pm

Thursday 23 – Horsham Activity Group Indoor Bowls - Horsham Indoor Bowling Club in Broadbridge Heath - 10.30am - 2pm

Friday 24 – LGBT+ Pop Up Café - Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham - 2pm - 3.30pm.