Event celebrates dementia-friendly services and support

People living with dementia and carers spoke movingly about the challenges they face and the opportunities that are open to them at an event hosted by the Camden Dementia Action Alliance (DAA).

The importance of getting out, interacting with other people and trying new activities were among the main themes of the Camden DAA Conference and Bazaar on Monday (15 May), held at the London Canal Museum during Dementia Awareness Week. The event was attended by about 70 people, including representatives of 34 organisations.

Elizabeth-Ann, who has dementia, was among the speakers at the conference. She said: “I keep my brain active by getting involved in as many things as I can. Don’t waste time – enjoy today.”

John, 93, who also has dementia, said helping others had been a great way for him to feel useful and active. “You should still be trying to give something back,” he said. “For example, getting your neighbour’s shopping for them if they are not feeling well. That way you feel you are contributing and not just someone people are looking after.”

Kate, a carer whose husband has dementia and who works with Camden Carers Service, said his skill as a musician had helped him to bring pleasure to others despite his illness. He was also more open to doing activities he might not have considered before having dementia. She also praised a project called ‘Remembering Yesterday, Caring Today’, an international project created by Pam Schweitzer for the European Reminiscence Network, which had been a tremendous help to her and her family.

Following the conference, Akademi South Asian dance group led a Dance Well workshop for guests.

Other organisations represented at the event included:

The conference was opened by Councillor Alison Kelly, who is chair of the Camden Dementia Action Alliance and whose mother had dementia. Other guests included Councillor Richard Cotton, who is the new Mayor of Camden.

The Camden DAA, which launched last year, brings together organisations working across the borough to transform the lives of people living with dementia and their carers. Commissioned by Camden Council, and co-ordinated by the Alzheimer’s Society, the Camden DDA works to achieve its aims through positive action, community awareness and education. There were many useful suggestions made during this week's conference for further activity by members of the DDA to help make Camden more dementia-friendly.

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There are an estimated 1,700 people living with dementia in Camden. A wide range of support is available.    Email: [email protected]