Bob’s Big Aberdeen Story

IMG_0885Diane, 57, lived in Bridge of Don. She was a client of Alzheimer Scotland in Aberdeen. Her husband Bob worked Full Time as an Insurance Broker. Bob and his family had noticed dramatic changes in Diane’s behaviours and had been to the doctor to have routine checks to see if there was any obvious reason. After a few months,  Diane was diagnosed with “Front Temporal Lobe Dementia” one of the early types of dementia. The illness at this time has no known cure and although some medications help, the illness gets progressively worse and leads to 24 hour care being required.

Bob first came across Alzheimer Scotland at their Caravan in a Tesco Car Park. Their staff provided a welcome listening ear and Bob was contacted by Sarah Geoghean of Alzheimer Scotland in Aberdeen. Through the initial contact, Bob was able to attend one of the Monthly Carers meetings organised by Sarah where he met several carers who had been attending the meetings for a number of years and who understood what Bob was going through. They gave him details of a number of activities which might be suitable for Diane. As Diane was quite young compared to most of those attending the meeting he  encountered problems in finding suitable activities and care to allow him to continue working and for Diane to have as normal a life as possible.

As time went on and Diane’s conditioned worsened, she was referred to public sector support and VSA. Help was arranged for Day Care and Diane attended day wards.  This included a statutory funded Care Package and the services of a Care Manager .

Diane loved Music and Dancing and Bob says “we found “Musical Memories” to be one of the best ways to meet people, share experiences and find out about what was going on such as respite Breaks at the Lovat Lodge in Nairn which I would highly recommend.”

Hear Bob talk about Musical Memories in the video below:

Sadly Diane passed away last October and having been helped so much by others during our journey, Bob felt that it was his duty to pass on his experience to benefit others in some way.

Aberdeen Issues from this story

  1. Is help and information there when you need it?
  2. There seems to be a lack of activities for those who have a dementia diagnosis much younger.
  3. How do you deal with “Anniversaries”, especially in the first 12 months?

Alzheimer Scotland is Bob’s STORYTELLER.

  • If you have concerns or queries regarding any aspect of dementia or support for anyone affected by this condition  phone the new Aberdeen Dementia Resource Centre, 13 – 19 King Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5AA, Tel: 01224 644077 run by Alzheimer Scotland City Services
  • For advice on Dementia Friends : free awareness sessions for all staff and volunteer teams throughout Aberdeen, contact  Sarah Geoghegan, Dementia Advisor | Aberdeen City Services | 01224 644627
  • For information about dementia and caring and to find out about Alzheimer Scotland, their services and campaigns and how you can support them.  View www.alzscot.org
  • You can also help Alzheimer Scotland by taking part in a sponsored walk – Memory Walk 2015
  • Or by donating money to help Alzheimer’s Scotland  http://www.alzscot.org/donate-to-alzheimer-scotland.

CONNECTORS

  • Befriending – Many people with a dementia diagnosis, their friends, family and carers have benefitted from having a designated Befriender – if you would like to volunteer to be a Befriender or to make a Befriending referral to an organisation in Aberdeen please see the link to ACVO’s Befriending Resource File Websites
  • Become a Dementia Friend – Anybody can become a Dementia Friend. It’s just about understanding a bit more about dementia and the small things you can do to help people with the condition.
  • Playlist for Life – Playlist for Life encourages families and caregivers to create a playlist of personally meaningful music on an iPod for people with dementia.
  • Activities for those with a dementia diagnosis and their families, friends and carers – contact Aberdeen City Football Club Community Trust (Recently awarded a grant by the Life Changes Trust), info@afccommunitytrust.org
  • Dementia Friendly Communities – if you live in a community which has the potential to be dementia friendly please see Sandra Shafii’s presentation for ideas. Sandra was the NHS Consultant involved in guiding Motherwell and helping them receive some national awards for all their efforts – could you be part of this in Aberdeen?
  • Dementia Friendly Cafes in Aberdeen – talk to Alzheimer’s Scotland to find out if there is one near you?
  • The Beacon Centre in Newhills – An exciting new approach to care for dementia sufferers  being piloted in the north of the city, offering a safe place for those with a dementia diagnosis’ and  carers to meet.
  • The GATE Project – Making sure that people know your wishes should anything untoward happen. This pack was designed by local  communities to provide what would be the most useful for them, their families and friends, should their diagnosis become very serious. This support is now being used by Roxburghe House, health professionals and others.
  • Sheddocksley Baptist Church Older Peoples Hub – Lunch clubs, health walks , podiatry support, health checks, and befriending all offered by the Parish Nurses Programme based at  Sheddocksley Baptist Church. Contact: phil@sheddweb.org.uk
  • EncourAGE Dyce at Dyce Community Centre. This is an Older People’s Forum of people in the community Tel: 01224 – 722546
  • Tailor-made Transport – to all health appointments in Aberdeen for those needing a friend or member of the family to go with them. Phone THInC 01224-665568 – only 45p per mile
  • Life Changes Trust – support for communities in Scotland.
  • Are you an organisation that provides support for those with a Dementia diagnosis, their friends families and Carers and your services aren’t here? Get in touch with Jane Russell : jrussell@acvo.org.uk  so we can tell everyone
  • If you want to know more about the work of ACVO around Community Planning or Health and Social Care Integration, contact Joyce Duncan on jduncan@acvo.org.uk
  • If you want to find out about volunteering to support older people visit Aberdeen’s Volunteer Centre
  • Alzheimers Scotland were amongst community organisations supported in the 2015 round of Community Action Funds from Aberdeen Harbour Board.

What Happened Next

What is happening since Bob told us his Story?

  • ACVO Affiliates at Breakfast on 10th November heard from Rosie Leavett of Alzheimers Scotland about opportunities to be Dementia Friendly and Carers Positive
  • Karen Stewart of ThisLittlePiggymarketing is carrying out a  skydive for Alzheimer Scotland on 22nd November – and says thanks so much all you awesome people who have sponsored Pigs WILL Fly at Justgiving – your support means the absolute world.
  • Bob was invited to come along to the Big Aberdeen Breakfast on the 22nd of September.  He commented “I found mixing with your own kind makes you think and be insular. I enjoyed the chance to put forward ideas which had nothing to do with my daily work and felt I was being listened to.”
  • Bob told us “Perhaps not directly but indirectly as a result of my involvement have been made a “Burgess of the City of Aberdeen” an honour given for the Care and Support I gave to Diane during her illness, was able to successfully support an Application to Aviva Community Fund which resulted in an award of £10,000 of funding to extend the Musical Memories Project to a wider audience in Aberdeen and the surrounding area and finally, I have been appointed as a “Advisor to work with the Life Changes Trust” which will allow me to give my opinion on requests for project funding made to the Life Changes Trust.”
  • Bob also sent us this amazing pic of a Dementia Centre in Las Vegas based on a simulation of a “brainwave” of a dementia patient.
    DSC_0334
  • ACVO’s Project 300 (Funded by the Life Changes Trust) mapping 3rd sector support for Dementia in Aberdeen begins May-July 2015. Results will be on acvo.org.uk contributing to Aberdeen City becoming ‘Dementia Friendly’.
  • Kevin Stewart, MSP, launched a motion in Parliament “That the Parliament commends the Aberdeen Council for Voluntary Organisations (ACVO) on the launch of #10AberdeenStories; understands that this gives Aberdonians an opportunity to help their fellow citizens facing a challenge in their lives, share their experiences and have their voices heard; believes that the project is being run in conjunction with Robert Gordon University and was formulated to highlight the life challenges of people in Aberdeen in response to feedback from the Big Aberdeen event; notes that the first story, which was launched in June 2015 during National Dementia Week, tells Bob Walker’s experiences of caring for his late wife, Diane, through early onset dementia; recognises what it sees as Bob’s bravery; understands that he felt that it was his duty to pass on his experience to benefit others in some way; urges people to visit acvo.org.uk/resources/big-aberdeen/10aberdeenstories/ and to share their views and knowledge, and wishes ACVO and all of the participants all the best in their endeavours.”
  • Neighbourly.com – Following on from our involvement with #10Aberdeenstories and in response to requests from some of our supporters, Alzheimer Scotland has created a Neighbourly.com project page. This allows friends and supporters of our work to engage with us and offer support in various forms and is a further mechanism whereby we can provide information and updates on the work we do here in Aberdeen
  • Wilma Poleson commented “Always so sad to read of such a young person with the illness. My husband died last year after a long journey. Since then I have become a Dementia Friend, they have opened new premises to provide more information, more organised group meetings which the clients enjoy and to make Shetland a more Dementia friendly place. Made me so pleased when one Carer said I had given him some good information . It’s good to help other people going through the same journey.”
  • Jackie Shearer commented “This is such a lovely story. This shows the importance of the awareness of the illness as it can strike at any age. The difficulty in those who are younger getting the correct/age appropriate support. I currently am encouraging my colleagues to become Dementia friends, spreading the awareness. Unfortunately I am unable to attend support meetings due to work commitments but all the other support and information I’ve been given has been amazing.”
  • RGU provided this link on Digital Story Telling
  • Aviva Community Fund has provided £10k for the Musical Memories Project.
  • Aberdeen International Airport Community Fund has provided some funding for an Alzheimer Scotland community project.

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