Northern Lights Dementia Awards – Manchester…

So yesterday saw the last event of Mad March……I’d been asked some time last year if I’d be involved in the event again as one of the judges, this time for the ‘Living Well’ and Dying Well categories.

Nicola Phillis, (Quality Improvement Lead, Clinical Networks – Dementia and Older People’s Mental Health, NHS England North (Yorkshire and the Humber)) Amazingly long name badge needed😂had been in regular contact as we shortlisted the entries down to the last 3 in each category a while ago.

There was to be 5 judges in each category and the final three in each were to give a 10 minute presentation for us to decide the runner up and winners.

Oh and I was to give a talk after Alistair Burns around Involvement and what it means to me
The event was being held in Manchester at the Mercure hotel (which rings huge bells so maybe I’ve been there before!)

Anyway the journey started off quite early doors as the event started at 10.

Nicola had offered to meet me at Piccadilly station but I often find that very stressful in case I wait in the wrong place or one of us is late so we’d also been sent a walking map😊and if I happen to see her, then that would be a bonus.

The sky over the Humber was only just waking up – it’s always a shame when the train windows have marks spoiling the piccies. Don’t they realise the necessity for clean windows😂 There were the most cutest lambs in the field but my fingers weren’t quick enough or the windows clean enough, but I managed to get a piccie where the black marks mingled in with the trees😊

My walking app got me from the station fine and I was met by someone who immediately got me a cuppa……..so after I’d got my second I settled into my seat and watched the room fill

I must have been here as it looked so familiar especially the lights in the main room.

Dr Richard Preece started off the day.

He also added that after all these years he’d only just realised the flower on his dementia friends badge was a forget me knot……🤓 he added he was no botanist so how was he suppose to know🤔

Alistair Burns was next – Professor of Psychiatry in Manchester and National Director for Dementia and Mental Health in older people……never sure why ‘older people’ needs to be at the end…..

The big push is to look at Prevention of dementia. If we were to prevent stroke, we’d have 10% less people with dementia apparently.

He’s a very good speaker as he always bring in humour to the serious topic. The only disappointment was how many of the slides spoke of ‘older people’ and ‘over 65s’

And ended with a good slide showing all the famous people who had/have dementia..

It was my turn next and I spoke about why involvement was so important to me. It seemed to go down well and there was much activity on Twitter.

Then it was the time of the carers – Vicky from the Alzheimers society introduced Liz, the wife of Mike, a person who is living with dementia and Guy, his side by side volunteer from Rochdale.

Liz spoke of being given the diagnosis and then nothing and the trauma that was involved. They wanted to be involved but not sat around in a dementia café as it wasn’t for them.”Trying to get services to listen”was the hardest things. Liz also knew the system as a former nurse but said it was still so hard. “I’ve been dismayed at the lack of understanding in hospitals”
“The side by side opportunity from the Alzheimers society has transformed Mike” It’s made him feel normal again.

The Mike spoke – he was a pilot in the airforce and there was much camaraderie.” After the diagnosis I was desperately bored””The memory clinic wasn’t supportive at all””Until I was introduced to Guy from the Alzheimers society – it’s something normal and it really raises my spirits”

Then Guy, the side by side man – “I’m just a person”. He watched his dad care for his mum. They matched him up with Mike 3 years ago and they are good friends. “It’s like 2 mates catching up’
Mike said to him – “I now feel I’m not afraid to tell people I have dementia’

Dr Choudary – the joint winner last year was next – I voted for him last year so pleased to hear an update.

He is a Consultant Radiologist from Leeds Uni and Leeds Teaching hospital – how bizarre that’s where I use to work……

Last year they won for their high end diagnostic imaging to people suspected of dementia, especially those who are younger – hence my interest. Normal MRI scans would show up normal (as mine did) yet their specialist PET scan clearly showed dementia.

During the Q&A session, we went onto post code lottery and I piped up about how we need to avoid the wonderful work in Manchester becoming an elite area for people with dementia. We need it to exist everywhere, not just in Manchester.

Cuppa tea or 2 time as they were only small cups………

Time to judge the presentations…….there’s some wonderful work going on in the North and here we saw the best over the categories Living well, Dying Well, Preventing well, Diagnosing well,Supporting well and Delirium

I was really impressed with the Dying well projects finalists, one ending with a lovely Snoopy cartoon

We put our scores on the doors on the score sheets and then time to relax.

I had a lovely surprise when Joyce Dunne, Tommy’s wife came up and said hello – I hadn’t seen them so lovely to say hello. And a couple of people came up to me and said how they now used my Woman and Home film as part of their training.. I can’t remember the detail of who they both were but I remember one mentioning they covered Cumbria, so that’s really nice seeing as it’s my favouritist place

After a nice lunch, Steve Poole Chair of the DAA started the afternoon and then me and Dr Amanda Thornton, Dementia Clinical Lead in Lancashire presented the awards – it was a big surprise to me when Amanda asked me to do a double act with her but very nice to say well done to all the winners from this morning. Amanda took charge of the envelopes and reading out and I gave out the award. We only had one ‘Oscar’ moment but I joked my way through it.🤓

I can’t tell you the winners as I was too busy handing out prizes to type🙄

I had to leave before the end to catch my train but that was such a nice ending to such a lovely day and I was looked after wonderfully by Sarah who always made sure I had a cuppa😊

And best of all…..it now means the end of Mad March………and relax………😴

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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.

6 thoughts on “Northern Lights Dementia Awards – Manchester…

  1. Hello Wendy

    The hotel was used by the Alzheimer’s Society for a past annual
    Conference. I think two or three years ago.
    We all had a great time. I have very good memories of our time together
    and your contributions which were excellent as always.
    See you at our next conference in May.

    Enjoy the ‘free’ time ahead and happy photographing.

    With every good wish as always
    Barbara

    Sent from my iPad

    Liked by 1 person

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