Alzheimer’s Society was created in 1979 when two people having the same experience caring for relatives with dementia sat down and addressed the urgent need to raise awareness about the disease. This was crucial because the quality of care, support and information dissemination needed much improvement. This was vital if people with dementia were to live their lives to the fullest and pursue their careers.
Thus, the Alzheimer’s Disease Society was formed. A steering committee was created which consisted of medical professionals and carers alike. On September 13, 1980 the first annual general meeting was held. This was attended by 98 members and supporters. Their first Newsletter was then published in January of the following year. In 1980 and 1981 the first branches were established in Oxford and Bromley. One of the organisation’s earliest contributions to research was the request for brain tissue donations in order to help fund further research studies.
In the next ten years, the society continuously grew and volunteer committees established branches in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. At the Annual General Meeting in 1999, the members of the society agreed to change the name to Alzheimer’s Society. In 2003 the organization was worth £30 million with more than 230 branches all over England, Wales and North Ireland. By 2010 it’s income had reached £58.7million and as of 2012 has over 2000 network services.
The following are programmes the organization runs for people who are affected by dementia:
Personal Choice Programme
This programme works to ensure people with dementia have choice and control of the overall care and support they receive. It emphasizes the value of personalisation and how having choice and control over their own care and support can help them live well.
The Society does this by ensuring that they have the knowledge, drive, services and resources to put the needs, ambitions, and preferences of those they support. The health and social care leaders, managers and front liners create personal budgets that are person-centred and accessible to all eligible people having dementia. Those with dementia, the carers and professionals work hand in hand as equals with the goal to achieve the behavioural, cultural and systemic changes required to personalise the landscape of dementia.
Engagement and Participation Programmes
Engagement and Participation Programmes help shape the Society’s work to make sure everything they do will reflect the needs of people who are affected by dementia. This programme enables people affected by dementia to influence the decision making at senior and board levels. They will also be routinely involved as co-producers of the services and resources. This also helps facilitate the involvement of people affected by dementia from groups and communities who are not seen or heard very often.
Carer Information and Support Programme
The Society’s Carer Information and Support Programme gives support and the latest relevant information in a group environment. Carers can share their experiences and find out about local and national services who are capable of providing support.
The key benefits of the programme include providing carers to have a better knowledge about dementia, as well as provide them with practical information they can use in coping with living with dementia on a daily basis. Carers are not only better informed but they feel less isolated as well. This programme also empowers carers to have access support services as well as financial benefits and other entitlements. Finally, this allows carers to plan with and for the individual, they care for at the present as well as in the future.
Information Programme for South Asian Families
This programme aims to support and provide information to South Asian families and friends with people having dementia. Their services are culturally tailored to help develop knowledge, understanding, and skills of families and friends. This is crucial because South Asian communities have a greater prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and therefore have an increased risk for developing dementia. The service helps participants in identifying and engaging more fully with voluntary and local statutory services and dementia services that are provided by the Alzheimer’s Society.
The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness
During the time that Jo Cox was a Member of the Parliament, she was dedicated to addressing the loneliness crisis in the United Kingdom. During her daily work, she met people like elderly widows who haven’t spoken to others for weeks, children in schools who felt alone even if they have hundreds of friends online. There are also new parents who found themselves suddenly without social connections of work. Jo was dead set on doing more in tackling this crisis.
In January 2016 she created a commission of organisations, campaigners and individuals that were independent and cross-partied. Even after her death, the Commission will still be working with Alzheimers Society and their partners to shed light on different aspects of loneliness as well as determine the positive steps to take to combat it.
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