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IPSWICH DEMENTIA ACTION ALLIANCE



With the painful defeat of 1978 (FA Cup Final Ipswich versus Arsenal) still lodged in my football heart, and the miserable league defeat of 1977 still rankling, I never thought I would return to Portman Road (home of Ipswich Town FC) with any pleasure. But return I did. Peter, happily without a football thought in his mind, and I, still carrying the burden of those defeats, were invited to speak at the Ipswich Dementia Action Alliance (IDAA) AGM, hosted by Ipswich Town FC and attended by many, including the mayor of Ipswich, Councillor Elizabeth Hughes.


Peter address focused on how businesses could be more inclusive towards those living with dementia, how he lives well and the necessity of looking at the simplicity that surrounds dementia, rather than the complicated bit in the middle: the dementia itself. A great example of this was when Peter explained how it was acceptable to 'lie' to someone living with dementia if it protected their emotional state. His father, he explained, regularly forgot that his wife, Betty, had died. Knowing how his mother used to love going on bus trips and rather than making his father endure the grief when he was reminded of her death, Peter used to tell his father, when asked where Betty was, that she had gone to Lowestoft on a bus. This both pleased his father and satisfied his curiosity as to Betty's absence. Crucially, it saved him reliving the grief of hearing news of her death. And, as Peter, said, if we are prepared to tell our children about the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy and Father Christmas, then we should be prepared to slip in a little white lie to our loved ones. Hard to argue with that one!


Well done to the IDAA for their wonderful work over the past couple of years in very difficult circumstances. A special mention must go to the first recipient of the late Roger Fern award, Liz Edwards, for her work around dementia and inclusivity. There was a moving tribute to Roger and acknowledgment about his unstinting work in Ipswich and specifically around dementia and it was lovely to see his daughters and son-in-law handing over the award to Liz. A special mention, too, for the delicious cake baked by IDAA's Chair, Nicola Bradford and to Nicola's husband, Roy, for his chauffeuring duties. And, of course, you can't write about the IDAA without mentioning Jill Barton and Debbie Ann Murrell because without them and Nicola, the objective to raise awareness of dementia and to make Ipswich a dementia friendly town would be much further away.


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