Posted by: Arc7Admin | 17.11.15

By Esme Davies

Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to attend the ‘Together for Dementia’ conference held by BRACE, a Bristol-based Alzheimer’s charity. The event was raising awareness about dementia, with inspiring talks by people living with the condition, as well as doctors and professors.

I was particularly inspired by one speaker, Hilary Doxford. After being diagnosed in 2012, she is now a member of the World Dementia Council, the only member who has dementia, and has come a long way from the shock of the diagnosis. Hilary spoke eloquently about how she was fighting the disease by focusing on the positive changes she had made to her life as a way of adapting and accepting. Dementia caused her to appreciate what she had and stop seeing the world in such a selfish way. What an incredible woman.

This resonated with me, making me aware of my brain and good health which I too took for granted. At 19 years of age, I was predisposed to believe that dementia had absolutely no relevance to me, why should it? Little did I realise was that my attitude to my mental and physical health and the lifestyle choices I make now; for example, my diet, my friends, even my education, could affect my likelihood of getting dementia in my later years. This was explored by Professor Antony Bayer in a fascinating and informative presentation.

An equally inspiring speaker was Norman McNamara, co-founder of the Dementia charity, Purple Angel. His message was about creating dementia-friendly communities by spreading the image of the purple angel, a universal symbol that meant public service providers understood the needs of people with dementia and could cater for them in the community. I realised that there was so little outside personal care that catered for those with dementia, whose needs can be as great as those with a physical disability.

I left the conference that day feeling like I had actually learnt something; I had this new awareness for something that, due to its prevalence, will inevitably play a part in my life. That said, the hope that was reflected by everyone attending the conference has left me with with a feeling of positivity for the future. In the words of Norman McNamara, I too feel that one day, “dementia will just be a memory”.

See @arcsevencomms and #Together4Dementia for our favourite thoughts, facts and quotes throughout the day. Thank you to BRACE and to everyone involved.