Dementia NI, a new membership organisation specifically for people living with a diagnosis of dementia is inviting people to join them to challenge the stigma of dementia. The charity, set up by people with a dementia is focused on influencing policy, practice and service delivery for people living with dementia.
Dementia is an incurable condition which strips people of their mental faculties, yet five people with the condition were able to come together to empower themselves and others by founding Dementia NI. Their message is that life goes on after diagnosis and people with the condition can live full satisfactory lives and be of value in their communities. They are now reaching out to twenty thousand people with dementia in Northern Ireland.
John McErlane, Co-Chair of Dementia NI who is living with dementia, says:
"We have a very important job to do in challenging the stigma. Whilst I have dementia, I can still do things for myself and make decisions; I just need society to allow me the time to do it in my way. I don't know how much time I have but I do know that we need to be challenging the stigma of dementia and that is what we plan to do through Dementia NI."
Now Dementia NI is seeking the help of other people with dementia to join them in their Belfast group.
‘Many who first hear that they have dementia isolate themselves from the world, feel depressed and hopeless’, said Ashleigh Davis, the charity’s empowerment officer. ‘These are the people we are talking to and speaking for.’
Dementia NI has seven such established groups in Northern Ireland. Anne from Newtownabbey, is already a member of her local Belfast group and offers examples of what the charity provides.
“After my diagnosis, the relief that there was someone out there to help and understand me was so overwhelming. I wasn't alone anymore and that was such a fantastic feeling. I enjoy coming along to the groups, it’s the perfect opportunity for us to socialise, to share experiences and have my thoughts and opinions heard. The group has given me the confidence to feel proud of myself and make me feel that I have a place in society again.”
Tara Collins Programme Manager for Dementia NI, says:
“At present we are encouraging individuals with a diagnosis of any type of dementia who reside within the Belfast Trust catchment area, to join their local group. We are delighted with our progress to date.”
For more information, please contact Dementia NI on Tel: 02890 686768 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org