Gary Rycroft column

Gary Rycroft.
Gary Rycroft.

Last week’s column mentioned The Alzheimer’s Show, an exhibition in London offering information and guidance to those living with dementia, their families and carers.

The event will be running again closer to home in Manchester on July 4 and 5, and I will be there taking part in a question and answer session.

The Alzheimer’s Show is a positive example of how Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia are no longer taboo and can be talked about more openly.

Hand in hand with this is a recognition that people living with dementia should not be written off but can – and indeed are entitled to still lead fulfilling lives.

Another example of this is the Dementia Friends Scheme, an initiative backed by the Government and facilitated by The Alzheimer’s Society.

The idea is to train people in all walks of life to become more aware of dementia. There are many good reasons why this is a good thing.

One is so that we can recognise signs in people we encounter. This is not so that we can deliver an on the spot diagnosis, but so that we can treat people in a more enlightened way.

For instance, an early warning sign of dementia is stock piling food because there is a compulsion to buy it, but then buying it is forgotten and so the same food is purchased again and again.

A Dementia Friend working in a supermarket may spot this kind of behaviour and could then take steps to safe guard the person concerned.

This isn’t snooping on our neighbours, but rather society pulling together to help each other. In today’s world where we all more distant than we once were from our neighbours and those living in our neighbourhoods, this is surely no bad thing.

All good in theory, but you’ve got to practice what you preach and so at my law firm in Lancaster myself and all my colleagues have all become Dementia Friends.

Diane from Age UK Lancashire who trained us reckons we are the first business in Lancaster to achieve that, which we are all very proud of. And it would be great if other businesses in Lancaster could join us.