Alzheimer's Society in Selby and York
Alzheimer's Society was founded in York in 1986 by a group of local carers, as a branch of the national society which had been established seven years earlier. There were then very few services for people with dementia or their carers and the new branch responded directly to their needs by providing information, a listening ear and group activities.
Alzheimer's Society has expanded and is now the UK’s leading support and research charity for people with dementia, their families and carers. Locally, six staff and scores of dedicated local volunteers provide a variety of services including individual information and support, carer education courses and a wide variety of peer support groups.
One of the most appreciated developments in York has been a weekly ‘Singing for the Brain’ group where people with dementia living at home and their carers come together for a therapeutic singing session. Due to popularity of this group a second York session is planned soon to cope with demand, and another one has just started in Selby. Other growing activities include ‘dementia cafes’ where people can come together for social contact and support.
The Society's vision is a world without dementia. Part of its new five year strategy is to campaign for people affected by dementia to be able to live the lives they want where they feel supported and no longer face stigma and discrimination. The Society’s aim is to build 'dementia friendly communities'. In York, the Society has a head start with this ambition, as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation will publish their York based 'Dementia without walls' report in autumn 2012. Alzheimers Society and other local partners will ensure than there is a lasting legacy in York from its findings.
Alongside its direct support services Alzheimer's Society is also a campaigning organisation and funds research into ultimately finding a cure for the condition.
Current campaigns include a drive with GPs for earlier diagnosis, a call for the reduction of the use of anti-physchotic drugs and campaigning against punitive charges for personal care for people living with dementia.
The Society’s ‘5 things you should know about dementia’ are:
- It's not a natural part of growing old.
- It's caused by diseases in the brain. One of these diseases is Alzheimer's.
- It's not just about losing your memory.
- It's possible to live well with it.
- There's more to a person than the dementia.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has been President of the Alzheimer’s Society in Selby and York since 2007.