Keswick Dementia Action Alliance Launch……

So yesterday’s blog was all about the journey and arrival in my most favouritist place – Keswick.
Friday was the launch of the DAA in Keswick.

I started off by having a very yummy Cumbrian breakfast which would see me through to next week! I only ever have breakfast when I’m staying in a hotel – never usually hungry, but must be the smell of it cooking that does the trick😊

I wasn’t due to meet the organiser until lunch time so I spent the morning taking in the wonderful scenery and went on the launch round the Derwentwater to get…… of course more photos……

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The colours are starting to change and the heather is lighting up the sides of the hills……magical….
I then walked wobbled down to Friars crag where I got chatting to a lovely young couple who were on their honeymoon. They’d been touring England and Keswick was their last stop, and they said they’d left the best ‘til last. However, they didn’t have any photos of the both together so we spent the next few minutes with me taking photos of them – they made my day and I made theirs…..😊

I went to the venue about 12 o’clock while they were still setting up, just in time for a cuppa tea. The venue was a local hotel in the centre of Keswick. I got talking to someone and discovered that their brother lived in the same village as me! Small world syndrome at large again……….

Couldn't resist adding another piccie of this wonderful place....
Couldn’t resist adding another piccie of this wonderful place….

We had a fair sized room and we expected about 35-50 local people, consisting of businesses, locals, health organisations etc but we ended up having the wonderful problem of not having enough seats!! So they had to go and get more – what a wonderful problem to have. Someone told me after that about 80+ had attended – magic:)

Phil from the Keswick carers forum opened the event and spoke of the trial that Keswick had had over the last year with the floods. He spoke of how the business community can help to benefit all to become a good community by becoming dementia friendly.

Mary from Theatre by the Lake also spoke as they have been nominated for an award in the Alzheimers society Dementia Friendly awards this year.
She spoke of all the work being done there and have ‘relaxed performances’ for people with dementia to feel included.
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Ali Hodson, the DAA coordinator for Cumbria welcomed such a diverse group to the event. A positive to come out of the floods showed how strong the community is in Cumbria. She spoke of the facts and figures about dementia itself and why it’s important for communities to become dementia aware.
“DAA is seen as the vehicle for developing dementia-friendly communities”
Membership should cover every organisation as every organisation comes into contact with people affected by dementia.
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Val Ayre –the Public Health Locality manager for the county council was then up next.

“Dementia is one of our key areas especially having such a rural area” The population of Cumbria is ‘super ageing’ – and then gave the astounding fact that the population in Keswick is ageing faster than the rest of the U.K. – which makes it even more vital that they become dementia aware.

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Next was Jen Mattinson – a ‘creative practitioner’ who supports Theatre by the Lake by offering creative sessions that include singing, dancing, movement, storytelling, craft and incorporates theatre games into the sections.Creative wellbeing for people with dementia and their supporters.
She then did a fantastic audience participation session of hand jiving where all the room joined in and was hilarious and great fun – magic……….

Neil was up next from ‘Dementia Adventure’! I’d never met Neil in person but have met others from the organisation.
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He was talking about positive risk taking for people with dementia…..Keswick was the first place they offered a ‘dementia adventure’.
They want to enable people with dementia to ‘maintain their sense of adventure’. His talk was well received as I think he surprised lots of people by the picture he showed of Agnes white water rafting….😂

I was last and they’d given me a whole half hour to talk so I rambled on about anything and everything including why I love Keswick so much, some funny stories about me and my daughters, after Neil’s talk on risk taking; what businesses can do to make this an even better place for all and finally the advantages of living with dementia, which always makes people sit up and listen…..

“Becoming dementia aware for businesses actually makes financial sense and can be good for your business.” – usually the talk of ‘money’ makes businesses sit up and listen……

I always have a piccie of me and my daughters up on the screen behind me to make sure they're always with me.....
I always have a piccie of me and my daughters up on the screen behind me to make sure they’re always with me…..

Their laughter and silence was hopefully a sign that they enjoyed my ramblings and their standing to clap at the end was very emotional…..

The local mayor gave the closing speech and said that now:

“We all now have a better understanding of what a Dementia friendly community should look like”

What a wonderful way to spend my time. They looked after me wonderfully, ensuring I was met at the station by a fabulous lady who I was very jealous of as she lived in the heart of the town – she even slowed down on the journey from the station to let me take photos. I had a lift back to the station by a lovely man from the Rotary Club who told me tales of the wonderful community spirit during the floods.

Thank you Keswick for such a wonderful 3 days………”I’ll be back” as someone once said………😊

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About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

2 thoughts on “Keswick Dementia Action Alliance Launch……

  1. I loved this area even before your postings. I love it even more having read this and what they’re doing to make it a dementia-friendly area. Did you have time to go to Grasmere and have some of their wonderful gingerbread? If not, next time, perhaps, x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your contribution to the day was fantastic. It was a real pleasure to meet you and slow down for your photos from the car on the way back from the station. I’m sure we will see you again in Keswick!

    Liked by 1 person

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