Festive request to support vital dementia services in Hemel Hempstead this Christmas

Alzheimer’s Society is urging people to donate to its Christmas Appeal

Thursday, 24th December 2020, 10:04 am
Updated Thursday, 24th December 2020, 10:08 am

Calls are being made to ensure no-one in Hertfordshire goes without the dementia support they need over the festive season.

Alzheimer’s Society is urging people to donate to its Christmas Appeal, as it prepares for a surge in demand, due to current restrictions creating further isolation and loneliness.

The charity’s dedicated army of expert Dementia Advisers, offer a personalised support service for people affected by dementia, providing advice, information and signposting to other local services.

Katie and her dad Jim

For Katie Smith, whose dad Jim is living with vascular dementia in Kings Langley, the Dementia Adviser service has been a ‘lifeline’.

She said: “My dad received his diagnosis in 2019 after my mum had died. Grieving for one family member while trying to get your head around what will happen for another and supporting your own family was very challenging.

“My sister lives next door to dad and has cared for his needs as much as possible.

"Thankfully this year we have had the support of a live-in carer which has given us huge relief.

“However emotionally you don’t switch off and the worry continues. From the very start we had a call from Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Adviser in Hertfordshire, Heather Reid.

"I can’t express enough how much she has helped us to live with dad’s dementia.

“She’s an impartial adviser that just understands what we are going through. You can miss the most obvious of things and Heather will coach you through the journey.

“She’s also that emotional support away from family. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in life that we forget she is there and then she’ll call to check in and suddenly you realise how much you’ve bottled up or you just needed to talk.

“I don’t know where we would be without this service. I completed a running challenge earlier this year to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society, as it is so important that anyone affected by dementia has these services available.”

Heather Reid supports many families affected by dementia across Hertfordshire and has witnessed the devastating impact lockdown has had on people with the condition – there are more than 15,000 people living with dementia across Hertfordshire.

She said: “This year there has been some noticeable trends with the calls coming through. Lockdown has accelerated symptoms for many, with routines stopped and a lack of social contact.

"Families have been left unprepared, stripped of time they had planned with loved ones.

“I’m sure the restrictions over the festive period are only going to increase the need of Alzheimer’s Society’s services.

“Since lockdown began in March, our services such the Dementia Connect Support line and Welfare Calls, have been used more than 2.7 million times and are proving to be a lifeline.

“We need people to donate to our Christmas Appeal so anyone struggling will have a Dementia Adviser on hand when they need them.

"Your support could help make sure no one faces dementia alone.”

To donate to the appeal click here.