One afternoon whilst walking out on Abington Park on a day off, something happened that would help me make my mind up that doing this was the right thing to do.
I noticed a lady, wandering, looking confused and very nervous. Stumpy decided she would be his next ball thrower and bumbled up to her with his usual playful bounce and enticed her into throwing his ball. She seemed comforted by him and her nervousness disappeared. This allowed me to strike up a conversation with her. She seemed confused, saying she was looking for her sisters house, but couldn’t remember her sisters name or address. She couldn’t remember her own address either. So we walked around the whole park looking for a landmark or something that looked familiar. Eventually we ended up outside our house, the #winahouse house so I invited her in for a Tea.
After Tea we decided to drive around to see if we could find her house, which we somehow eventually did. During the journey Stumpy sat on her lap, she was obviously comforted by him. She stroked him the whole time, also pointing out to me that he had a lump on his tummy and had he seen a vet for it! She then told me about her dog a springer. And when we eventually got her home, there indeed was her Springer! Dogs can have such a profound effect on people. She couldn’t remember her sister, her sisters or her address, but she remembered her dog!
This meeting was what set me on the track that Dementia was the cause to support. Me and Annie see it all the time in our Nursing roles, from A+E and especially as a District Nurse. I never thought that a chance encounter between Stumpy and the Lady in the Park would snowball like this.
We are both passionate about providing great care, and having seen that dementia support can sometimes be lacking, so we resolved to put our money where our passion lay by putting our four bedroom home into a ‘Win a House’ competition – with a difference.
Part of the proceeds from the competition will go toward funding Northampton’s dementia support centre UnityDEM, co-run by the University of Northampton and First for Wellbeing.
“In one way or another, most of us know someone affected by dementia. In fact, 1 in 3 children born in the UK in 2015 will go on to develop a form of dementia, and currently there is no cure.
“UnityDEM offers a type of ‘brain rehab’, based on research that shows this type of intervention can slow the progression of dementia and, possibly, keep people at home for longer.
“This has massive benefits for everyone from those with dementia, their carers and centres like these could even reduce the burden on the NHS and social care bodies.
“Annie and I would both like to say a big thank you to everyone who has taken part so far. We really hope people continue to help support UnityDEM and try winning a house for a fiver.”
UnityDEM is a ‘one stop shop’ for care, information, training and guidance for people who have been recently diagnosed with a form of dementi
a. Crucially, their carers have access to the same support at the same time.
One of my favourite reviews on the Facebook page is by Raja (if your reading this I hope you don’t mind me quoting you) who said:
“£5 is a small amount for individuals but together we can make a huge difference and help the cause”