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This weekend Alzheimer Scotland is marking 40 years of supporting and campaigning for people living with dementia and launching the theme ‘Innovation’ with The Big Weekend Memory Walk with a difference.
From having been a very small part of the Alzheimer Society – raising funds which went to England – the founders of ‘Alzheimer Scotland’ decided Scotland needed to support her own people and merged with ‘Action on Dementia’ in 1980 to become the most influential dementia charity in Scotland today.
Oban dementia advisor Sue Pagan said: ‘The charity is firmly driven by the people who live with brain diseases; people who live daily with dementia and who know the changes that need to be made by government, local authorities and the NHS.
‘Alzheimer Scotland has the strength of a national charity but delivers locally.’
Within Argyll and Bute this means two dementia advisors, vital post-diagnostic support from eight co-funded link workers, and the Oban and Helensburgh Dementia Resource Centres, two part-time community group organisers along with a multitude of hugely important volunteers.
Sue said: ‘Although our greatest wish is a cure for dementia and no need for further birthdays – we are marking the occasion September 21 -27 with the theme ‘Innovation’ which is certainly appropriate now.
‘During lockdown we have offered support by innovative use of digital technology, online groups and video support as well as by telephone and post – and working to safely reintroduce face-to-face meetings at our centres and in people’s own homes.’
Everyone living with dementia has been particularly hard-hit during lockdown, with additional pressure for family and unpaid carers, and although Alzheimer Scotland has been working throughout offering support, information and advice; unfortunately, the coronavirus has had a big impact on income with the cancellation of the main summer fundraising events.
However, Sue is encouraging people to get involved now: ‘This Big Weekend we are going to kick-off ‘Innovation’ with our annual Memory Walk.
‘You decide where and when you walk. Walk alone or with your household – just remember the two-metre rule if you meet other walkers.
‘Beach, cycle track, garden or around the town but please do walk for someone with dementia,’ she said.
To register your walk with a donation or sponsorship go to: https://shop.alzscot.org/pages/fundraising-events/alzheimer-scotland-memory-walk-big-weekend