David Blunkett MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough and a former Work and Pensions Secretary supported Alzheimer’s Society Sheffield in raising awareness about dementia this Dementia Awareness Week in July 2011
Mr Blunkett attended the finale event at the Central United Reformed Church, Norfolk Street, S1 2JB on 8 July 2011 to talk about why he supports Dementia Awareness Week.
Mr Blunkett is Vice President of Alzheimer’s Society nationally and is patron of the Sheffield office. He has had a long standing interest in dementia since the 1970s, when he was then in charge of social services in Sheffield and where support was offered to families and carers of those with dementia. He helped establish the first residential home specifically staffed and designed to help people cope with severe dementia. He is also involved in Lost Chord, an organisation using music as a way of stimulating and supporting those with dementia to be able to reconnect and continue for as long as possible to get the most out of life.
Mr Blunkett said: “I’m very pleased indeed to join in Dementia Awareness Week. I’m very happy to join with the local society, with family and carers and those with dementia in getting the message across that whilst so many of us will be affected with an ageing population, it is possible not only to offer help and support to the individuals affected but crucially to their loved ones. They who carry so much of the challenge of caring and helping those affected to live as normal a life as possible.
“Early intervention and, where appropriate, medication can help, and the onset of very severe dementia can be delayed for significant periods of time. New memory clinics can help identify and in many cases reassure, in respect of whether simply becoming absent-minded has turned into the onset of Alzheimer’s. It is a simple fact that as we grow older our short term memory does become less sharp and that is why it is important to allay worries for those who are not affected and offer real assistance to those who are.”
Maria Flude, Information Worker for Alzheimer’s Society, Sheffield said: ‘We are delighted to have David joining us at our celebratory Tea Dance to mark the end of a really successful Dementia Awareness Week 2011 in Sheffield. This event is designed to ensure people with dementia, carers / family, volunteers and staff have fun! We’ve all worked hard to ensure the week raises awareness and promotes the fact that people with dementia are still people who can lead enjoyable and fulfilling lives and the Tea Dance is a wonderful illustration of that.’