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Dementia Awareness Week: Time for Dementia

Today, the first day of dementia awareness week 2023, kicked off with our first session with students from Nursing Studies University of Surrey in conjunction with The Alzheimer's Society's Time for Dementia programme.

This is an innovative project which "gives undergraduate healthcare students the unique opportunity to regularly meet with a person with dementia and their carer. The students can get to know the person and the carer outside of a clinical setting. Regular meetings help trainee healthcare professionals understand what it’s really like to live with dementia."

In the session this morning Peter talked with a group of students, describing to them the early symptoms of early onset Alzheimer's, the diagnosis process, the depression that followed and how he now lives life to its fullest. There were plenty of questions and observations and I can see how this and future sessions, expertly facilitated by Cherryll Hixon, Time for Dementia Service User Involvement Officer, will be of great use to these students as they progress in their studies and their careers. And, no chat with Peter would be complete without the mandatory and unexpected metaphor. However, on this occasion neither Cherryll nor I wrote it down but I have just called Peter and got another version of the same metaphor so here we go:

In the context of talking to people about their pasts, Peter observed: "the here and now, yesterday and the present is like a trickle, not that fast flowing at all, but the past is a raging river where the memories pour out creating a memory of waterfalls."

Note to self: have a pen at the ready for the next session!

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