Lancaster health workers support dementia awareness

Emily Wilson (left) and Tracy Blenkinship at the cake sale at Slyne Road in Lancaster.
Emily Wilson (left) and Tracy Blenkinship at the cake sale at Slyne Road in Lancaster.

A young health worker whose mum was diagnosed with early onset dementia has had a moving show of support from her colleagues.

Emily Wilson’s mum Sue first showed signs of the condition around six years ago when she was just 59 years old.

It has been devastating for Emily and her family so her caring colleagues decided to hold a cake sale in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society on Thursday, June 16 and a total of £220 was raised.

Emily, 27, who works as a technical instructor with a Community Therapy and Rehabilitation Team at Slyne Road in Lancaster run by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said she was moved by the fact that her colleagues were supporting dementia awareness.

Tracy Blenkinship, 33, the main organiser of the event, said she wanted to hold the event for Emily and for her patients in the community.

Emily explained: “With dementia you are losing someone right before your eyes.

“Tracy has supported me since my mum was diagnosed – she is my best friend at work. Tracy is always there for me. She can see when I am having a bad day.

“I think people don’t expect anyone to have dementia at such a young age. You don’t expect your parent to get it. More often it’s a grandparent.

“I had to explain it to my son Oliver. Everyone is supporting him and he has done a walk to raise awareness of dementia. It’s important to get the young ones to understand.

“If I didn’t have such a big supportive team at work I wouldn’t have coped as well.”

Emily’s dad Stuart is now Sue’s carer and Emily and her sister regularly travel to Burnley to visit them.

Tracy, who is also a technical instructor and is expecting her second child in a few weeks, said: “I have seen how Emily has been affected by the fact that her mum has dementia.

“In some respects the family can suffer more than the person who has dementia.

“Caring for people with dementia is a really big part of our working lives.

“We see husbands, wives, families and carers who are all trying to deal with it.

“I have a big interest in dementia care and a real passion for it.

“The Alzheimer’s Society is a really good charity and I’m glad we have been able to raise money for it.”

The work of the team includes falls assessments, therapy, rehabilitation, exercise and memory assessments.

Emily added: “We work with many people who have dementia - we are all ‘Dementia Friends’.

“I love my job. It is very rewarding being out in the community and helping people thought therapy and rehabilitation.

“I have an even greater understanding now because I am going through it with my own family.

“We usually raise money for well known charities but dementia support is as important.

“The sooner a person is diagnosed, the longer that person will have the ability to live independently. We advocate that on a daily basis.”

For more information about dementia go to the Alzheimer’s Society’s website: www.alzheimers.org.uk