The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss, impaired judgement, confusion, loss of language and lack of emotional control caused by diseases of the brain which can potentially affect us all and it can strike at almost any age, although it’s far more likely to occur after the age of 65.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia accounting for 60% to 80% of all dementia cases. In the early stages people struggle to maintain control in their lives, but as the disease progresses and more brain cells die off, they lose their sense of self and their sense of linear time – past and future roll into the present. When this happens they feel as though they have no choice but to give up and totally surrender to their condition.
In this scenario, Alzheimer’s Society intervenes, supporting people with dementia to live full, independent lives for as long as possible. As part of the UK Alzheimer’s Society, the Isle of Man branch raises funds to benefit people living with dementia on the Isle of Man and delivers vital services across the Island, whilst increasing awareness of dementia and related issues.
One of the most vital services provided is called ‘Side by Side’. Focusing on the individual needs and personalities of people with dementia, the Society allow those living with dementia to do their favourite activities and make sure they don’t feel alone.
Another service the Society provides is ‘Golden Memories’ reminiscence group which is held at the Manx National Heritage iMuseum in Douglas. The museum currently provides video, photographs and memorabilia of bygone days to stimulate comfortable older memories. People living with dementia can also attend ‘Singing for the Brain’ – sessions of music therapy and singing that aim to enable people to be comfortable in singing old, familiar songs and reminiscing about the memories that they evoke.
Paul Watterson, Director at Abacus, commented: “Staff at Abacus are keen to support a variety of charities throughout the year. Each quarter we choose a charity to benefit from our fundraising initiatives and hope that our donation will go some way to assist the charity in continuing its on-going hard work and commitments to such a worthwhile cause. Everyone at Abacus is pleased to have been able to support the Alzheimer’s Society.”
The Alzheimer’s Society always welcomes new volunteers to join and provide support across a range of activities and projects.
If you are looking for something really good to do, please consider this opportunity. Needless to say the volunteers have fun and usually get a lot from the experience themselves.
Written by Marta Bellamoli, Marketing Co-ordinator
Image: Lorraine Boyd (left) and Helen Corlett (right) from Abacus are donating a cheque to Mr Grahame Bell from Alzheimer’s Society (Isle of Man branch)