A Kentford woman studying for a degree in dementia has joined forces with a local voluntary group and a Newmarket supermarket to form an alliance aimed at boosting awareness of the condition and helping people who live with it.
The Newmarket Dementia Alliance plans to offer education and training for staff of companies who meet people suffering from all forms of dementia in the course of their work, as well as to individual carers looking after relatives with the condition.
Susan Ross, works for Fordham-based Quality Home Care and is studying part-time at Worcester University. She became interested in dementia about five years ago while undergoing chemotherapy for fibroid cancer.
“I realised that the treatment was affecting my memories and gave me some insight into what it must be like for someone with dementia,” she said.
Susan trained with the Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance, becoming a Dementia Champion, and is currently involved in setting up special training for 300-plus staff working from Quality Home Care’s bases in Cambridge, Pap worth and Fordham.
“It’s a tall order, but we’re getting there, she said.
Susan is also working alongside the Shine A Light group, which offers monthly get-togethers at All Saints’ Church in Newmarket for people with dementia and their carers, and has three recently-qualified Dementia Champions among its volunteers.
The third member of the new alliance is Tesco, which aims to deliver training to staff at its Fordham Road store and to set up systems to improve the shopping experience for customers with dementia and their carers.
Susan is currently seeking a base in the Newmarket area where she can set up her own group, within the alliance, to practise her specialities. They include music therapy and “simulated dementia” training, in which the trainee wears earphones delivering a jumble of sounds, glasses which blur the vision and covers over the hands and feet while performing everyday tasks.
“Once people have walked in the shoes of someone with dementia they have a clearer idea of what they face and can empathise with the condition,” said Susan. She can be contacted by anyone wishing to know more on 07471 500648 or by email, susan.ross@de mentia-alliance.com.
For more information about Shine A Light, contact Robin Hardy on 01638 669361 or call in at All Saints’ Church between 2 and 4pm on the third Monday of the month.