Would you like to see the Northern Lights, go on a safari or swim with dolphins? These exciting activities were selected from a list as the top three experiences people would like to try in their lifetime. Yet over four in ten adults said they didn’t try out new things because they were too busy…
A survey carried out by Alzheimer’s Society to mark Dementia Awareness Week (17th – 23rd May) found that over half of people asked also said they are worried that developing dementia would prevent them from enjoying new experiences at all.
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society says: ‘People post selfies on social media every day to tell their friends and followers about exciting things they’re doing. Alzheimer’s Society’s survey exposes that people’s lives are often more run-of-the-mill and less adventurous than the impression given out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
‘Taking part in new activities is important for everyone. It helps build confidence, enhance emotional wellbeing and creates positive memories. As dementia progresses, a person’s ability to do challenging, new activities reduces but they still experience joy and pleasure – like anyone else.
‘Even the simplest things can help people with dementia feel connected to the world and the people who matter most. While they may not remember the details, the positive emotions remain. That’s why Alzheimer’s Society works tirelessly to help those affected by dementia stay connected through our services and support.’
Joyce, from Gloucestershire, is the daughter of Margaret Sun (89) who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2012. Speaking about her mother’s dementia, Joyce said: ‘After my mother’s diagnosis, I was determined to help her have the best quality of life and asked her to make a list of things she still wanted to do or experience. To my surprise, mum said she had always wanted to go on a safari.
‘People told us that there was no point taking her on a safari trip because she wouldn’t remember. That’s not the point. People with dementia can still experience enjoyment in life. From the moment we arrived in Kenya we noticed a change in mum’s behaviour and her character blossomed. It gave us so much pleasure seeing her enjoy the trip and we were overwhelmed with the impact the safari adventure had on her.’
Alzheimer’s Society provides a range of services to support people living with dementia. Call the national helpline on 0300 222 1122 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Alzheimer’s Society visit www.alzheimers.org.uk.
To join in and highlight Dementia Awareness Week 2015, try something new and upload via social media with the hashtag: #DoSomethingNew.