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Dementia Awareness Day at Berryhill Village

6th December, 2011

Staff and resident volunteers at Berryhill Village in Stoke-on-Trent have spent the day educating others about dementia.

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Led by ExtraCare's Locksmith® Amanda Gallacher, who runs the Enriched Opportunities Programme® and works with residents who live with dementia, the group sat in the village street and gave out information on early diagnosis and support. They also had samples of food rich in B vitamins such as bananas and cheese, which have been shown to lessen people's chances of developing the condition.

They also sold Alzheimer's Society badges and pens to raise money for the charity, and encouraged passers-by to purchase quiz books to keep their minds active.

Residents Lily Wall and Lila Hughes were both keen to raise money as, between them, they have raised thousands in the past four years for the Alzheimer's Society, Help for Heroes and the Poppy Appeal. Lila, who turns 99 this month, said she feels good when she raises money.

Lily explained that they do it for causes that are important to them. "I don't have any experience with dementia myself, but you never know what might happen, do you?" she said. "I want to raise as much as possible because we could be gone soon."

All of the residents who helped Amanda on the day regularly volunteer with her, and she said they are essential for her work with the 55 residents at Berryhill Village who live with dementia. "I couldn't do without my volunteers," she said. "When I started here, I put a poster up and they all signed up very quickly. They help with all of my activities and even do them without me when I'm away, they're great."

Volunteer Maureen Finney is not a resident, but has had experience of dementia in her family. "I think even living somewhere like here, people can still need help," she said. "Sometimes all they need is someone to talk to and that can make all the difference. There's a lot of naivety about dementia and people do need to be educated."

Former nurse and resident Pauline Wilkinson agrees. Despite using crutches, she regularly helps other residents, especially those who have dementia. "I don't know everyone living in the village here, but I always stop and say hello to people as I pass them," she said. "We never had anything like this awareness day before Amanda came here four years ago, and it's really good."

Picture: Resident volunteers educate others about dementia at Berryhill Village. From left to right: Lily Wall, Lila Hughes, EOP Locksmith Amanda Gallacher, Pauline Wilkinson, Bunty Hart and Maureen Finney.

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For further information, please contact:

Lucy Henson, PR officer
0789 105 3062
lucy.henson@extracare.org.uk