Charity on hand to give vital support for dementia

Dementia support worker Cliff Cropley at the Alzheimer's contact point in Commercial Road, Portsmouth'''Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150846-6)

Dementia support worker Cliff Cropley at the Alzheimer's contact point in Commercial Road, Portsmouth'''Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150846-6)

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WHETHER it’s needing help to come to terms with dementia or finding support groups, this team of people is always there to assist.

The Alzheimer’s Society charity has teams of advisers that come under the Dementia Advice Service.

Cliff Cropley, 50, has been a dementia support worker for four years. He works at the Portsmouth branch, which is based at the John Pounds Centre, in Queen Street, Portsea.

In the past year, 340 people have used the centre for help and advice on all things dementia-related.

Cliff said: ‘I worked for 20 years in stock control management and also used to help in a care home.

‘When the company I worked for went into administration, I decided I would give my time to helping the elderly and that’s how I got involved.

‘As a support adviser, I provide one-to-one support for a person with dementia or the carer, or even someone who is concerned and wants more support and advice.

‘Support is varied and will depend on the needs of the person asking.

‘It could be coming to terms with the condition, questions about funding and finances or becoming a power of attorney.’

Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or a series of strokes.

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause, but not all dementia is because of the disease.

The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing the condition.

One of The Newsmajor pledges in its Take Care Together campaign, which we launched this week, is to ensure no-one feels alone and that they know support is out there for them.

Mr Cropley added: ‘Anyone can contact the Dementia Advice Service, you don’t need to have a referral from anyone to get help.

‘Members of our team can go to people’s homes for help, or they can come into the centre.

‘We can also put people in touch with support groups and carers sessions, should they need it.

‘And we also have plenty of information that people can take away and look at in their own time.’

To contact the Portsmouth Dementia Advice Service, call (023) 9282 1777, and to contact the Hampshire team call (023) 9289 2034.

Be a friend

A DEMENTIA Friend learns more about what it’s like to live with the condition.

That then turns understanding into action, from helping someone find the right bus, to recognising signs, and supporting loved ones.

Anyone of any age can be a dementia friend and there are two ways of doing it – take an online course lasting an hour, or join a face-to-face session.

The News wants to hear from all those who take part in a course, so we can see the difference you’re making.

There’s a number of ways in which you can do this – email priya.mistry@thenews.co.uk and give your name, age, address and contact details.

Or send a Tweet to @portsmouthnews with a message and #newsdementia

To sign up, visit dementiafriends.org.uk

Our three campaign pledges

OUR year-long campaign is committed to delivering three pledges in a bid to raise awareness and increase support. We want our readers to get behind our target to:

- Raise awareness of dementia – each day this week The News will feature a series of stories on the condition and will continue to run stories throughout the year to help improve understanding of dementia.

- Double the number of dementia friends – at the moment there are 1,416 in Portsmouth, 405 in Gosport, 662 in Fareham, 96 in Havant and 443 in Waterlooville.

Our aim is to get more than 6,000 people signed up to the scheme by May 2016.

- Ensure no-one feels alone – make sure information and support for both carers and patients is easily available and that there is a central point of contact for the Portsmouth area so people do not feel isolated.

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