Why are we doing this, and why dementia?
Essentially we are 2 nurses who are fortunate to live in a beautiful £650k home in Abington, Northampton. It’s a rather large family home, too big for us and just needs children/family to fill it. As I mentioned we had tried for a family, nearly got there. So whilst we have no control over who would win this – we both would like it to be someone who would appreciate it and make it their own. We had planned it for the growing needs of a family with 3 of the bedrooms with en suite and one other next to main bathroom with rain shower and spa bath. (Not having to queue for a bathroom was non negotiable 🙂 Catchment area for the schools. Northamptonshire is very well known for rugby and there’s cricket and family activities etc. A commutable distance of 1 hr to major cities, London, Birmingham, overlooking a protected park, prime location. We decided to downsize but wanted the home to do some good also. Marty had an idea to have it as a house competition but with a charity to also benefit from it. Whilst walking our dog Stumpy on Abington Park they noticed an elderly lady who was agitated and alone, she settled when Stumpy ran over to her. She was lost and vulnerable and after a couple of hours they did somehow manage to get her home. (More detail in blog section)
This has led to a collaboration with the University of Northampton and Professor Parkes dementia programme lead of UnityDem. This is a research based pilot programme which offers cognitive intervention ‘brain rehab’ at the point of early diagnosis – initial findings suggest that it may slow progression for a few years, initial indications 3-4 years (no cure as yet and can affect young people too). It also offers support for families and carers. As a colleague says just because you have been diagnosed on a Friday it doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new on the Monday. Early intervention is key though. The positive effect is that it may also delay admissions and the need for private care which unfortunately this condition is currently classed as a social condition and not medical. Majority of the costs fall to families, average £33k per year & means tested! Women usually give up their jobs to become full time carers and then become isolated. Programmes such as this rely on funding.
(Dementia is due to be the next big topic of health with the World Health Organisation pushing for campaigns and changes globally. There is an initiative that all businesses and towns are to be dementia friendly within the next few years, with better diagnosis and intervention trying to reduce the impact of this condition.)
This has genuinely gone from a chance encounter but the facts and figures are such we feel compelled to act. For example, every 3 minutes someone in UK is diagnosed with dementia (diagnosis can take 4 years on average!) 1 in 3 children born last year will develop dementia at some point of their lives, it’s not an inevitable part of growing old. Some people can have early onset the youngest I’ve heard of age 20. There are many different types of dementia. For example vascular from increased risk of diabetes, stroke, heart etc. Others genetic. Dementia is irrespective of background, income or ethnicity. Currently there is no cure so if we can hit our target and give money to this which will then generate more research and can grow and potentially have more centres – benefiting communities and families. This is what we wanted was something that would have impact at the early stage, be quantifiable and have an impact on individuals, families and carers and generations.
Our aim is that if we can reach our maximum target then we have agreed to give 1 million to dementia in Northamptonshire. The Community Foundation Programme have also agreed that they will then part match to 1.2 million, which ensure longevity. We have had interest both nationally (and been published and enquiries from overseas) with many people hoping to win our home as their family home mortgage free in the hope of getting onto the property ladder for their family. We have had many positive comments on our Facebook page and Twitter.