THE devastating impact of lockdown on thousands of Scottish families living with dementia triggered a 30 per cent rise in calls to Alzheimer Scotland’s vital 24-hour helpline over the last three months.
The charity says prolonged isolation, combined with the closure of their support centres, means many of the 90,000 people affected in Scotland are at crisis point.
Chief Executive Henry Simmons welcomed a new partnership with Scottish Building Society, whose members voted to adopt Alzheimer Scotland as their charity of the year, and hopes that other major companies will follow suit.
Society staff at branches in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Galashiels, Troon and Inverness will support the helpline with expert advice on personal finance, help raise much-needed funds and promote Alzheimer Scotland’s range of vital services.
At the culmination of Dementia Awareness Week, Mr Simmons said:
“The launch of our partnership with Scottish Building Society comes at a time when we are having to adapt the way we work to ensure we are still able to reach the vulnerable people who need us.
“More than ever it is essential nobody faces dementia alone so we are delighted to have the chance to work alongside Scottish Building Society staff and customers to help raise much-needed support and awareness for our cause.”
Alzheimer Scotland hopes more Scottish business will rally round to help the thousands of Scots in need of help. The charity says one in three of us will go on to develop dementia at some point in our lives. No-one is immune
Paul Denton, Scottish Building Society Chief Executive, said:
“The rise in calls to the helpline show that dementia is not in lockdown. It is critical at this time that those living with dementia and their partners, carers and friends know that they are not alone. Our members recognised the vital contribution Alzheimer Scotland makes and overwhelmingly voted to adopt them as the charity of the year at our AGM.”
Alzheimer Scotland challenge misconceptions, tackle inequalities and fight for the rights of those impacted by dementia in Scotland. As the country’s leading dementia charity, they aim to empower, educate and enable people living with dementia to live well with the disease, keeping them connected to their own community and networks.
Alzheimer Scotland offers a range of personalised support and choices. They provide a network of specialist Dementia Advisors, NHS Dementia Nurse Consultants, Dementia Research Centres, the 24-hour Freephone Dementia Helpline and numerous local support services, reminiscence programmes and Dementia Resource Centres in communities all across Scotland.
Helpline: 0808 808 3000, @alzscot.org.
“I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease three years ago aged 57, which was quite early in my life. It came as a shock to me and I initially went into a depression as I just couldn’t cope with the information being presented to me.
“I ended up in hospital and, from there, all the support started to kick in. I was initially allocated an Alzheimer Scotland link worker and it feels like everything has been on the up since then.
“I was introduced to nearby community activity groups and my local Dementia Advisor, Gillian, who is one of the kindest people; I always feel uplifted when I know I’m coming to see her. It has made a huge difference in my life.
“I gave up work after my diagnosis which I found really difficult and, through Gillian, I was given the opportunity to put my skills to use by being introduced to the Highland Dementia Working Group. It was something I could go to which wasn’t just a support group. I could actually go and do some proper “work” which is what I was missing.
“The Dementia Advisor role is a really key part of my wellbeing and the wellbeing of everyone who has dementia. Without them, I think we would have an awful lot more crises.
“I did hideaway at the start; I was in denial. However, opening up and welcoming all of the support that people have offered me has made a huge difference in my life.
“In the early stages, I didn’t think I had any purpose, but I’ve gone from a point where I thought that life really wasn’t worth living to a point where I want to help.
“I would encourage you to support Alzheimer Scotland as it’s such important work that they are doing. I wish that more people would get involved, sooner rather than later, as the support I’ve received gave me a new lease of life, new interests and more friends and the money raised by Scottish Building Society would allow more people to experience that.”