Dementia NI, a local charity set up by five people living with dementia are reaching out to the Carrickfergus community to assist others that have been recently diagnosed with dementia.
Their message is clear - life still goes on following a diagnosis. The aim of Dementia NI is to set up groups throughout Northern Ireland solely for people living with dementia. In order to meet on a regular basis, offer each other peer support through social gatherings and raise awareness about what it is like to live with the symptoms of dementia.
Dementia NI highlights how keeping active and connected within the local community has retained skills and assisted in reducing isolation, alleviating boredom, and possible depression. Members felt this important, to prove to the public that they can still live well after a diagnosis of dementia and are very capable of partaking in everyday activities the same as everyone else.
'Many who first hear that they have dementia feel isolated, deskilled and afraid’, said Ashleigh Davis, the charity’s empowerment officer. ‘Dementia NI assist these people to remain valued citizens who can still play a beneficial part within their communities.'
Members regularly give talks during Dementia NI awareness sessions, they challenge the stigma of having a diagnosis, dispelling preconceptions surrounding the condition and educate others about what it is like to live with dementia, in the hope that everyone will become more understanding. Whilst raising awareness of dementia, Dementia NI members bring these unique sessions to life by adding their real-life experiences of living with dementia. Their aim is to challenge the associated negative assumptions, in the hope that others will be more accepting and tolerant of the symptoms, and helpful towards people living with the condition.
"We have a very important job to do in challenging the stigma. While I have dementia, I can still do things for myself and make decisions; I just need society to allow me the time to do it in my way." – Dementia NI Member, John.
Through raising awareness, challenging the stigma, and enabling all those who are living with dementia to access appropriate services, Dementia NI will continue to reach out and support more people living with dementia across Northern Ireland throughout their journey.
"Dementia NI has given me confidence, I learn more about my dementia, and it gets me out more during the week. I really like meeting up with my friends in Dementia NI who also know exactly what it’s like for me, because they have dementia too." – Dementia NI member, Ronnie.
Dementia NI have now established a group in Carrickfergus specifically for people living with dementia and is reaching out to others to support people with the diagnosis within the local community.
If you know someone recently diagnosed with dementia, please inform them of our new group which meet in Carrickfergus Community Forum on 31 Lancasterian Street, Carrickfergus. We would love them to get involved.
To receive more information, provide feedback, make a donation, or support us in continuing to develop our work please contact:
Dementia NI, 54 Elmwood Avenue, Belfast, BT9 6AZ
Telephone: 02890 68 67 68 Mobile: 07966 881 429