Call for Open Minds on Dementia

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People in Ballymena and the wider province are being offered a chance to shape the future for people affected by dementia through a unique on-line survey being launched this month.

“We want as many people as possible to take part as it asks some vital questions. We need to know the answers so that we can plan the future for all of us”, says Professor June Andrews of the independent Northern Ireland Dementia Services Development Centre which developed the survey called Dementia – the Big Ask.

They are launching both the survey and the ground-breaking book ‘Dementia: the One Stop Guide’ at a special Open Minds event at the Europa Hotel, Belfast, on February 13, from 10.30am-2pm designed to let people explore what dementia means in Northern Ireland today and in future”.

“Anyone can come to the Open Minds event at the Europa Hotel and ask whatever they want about dementia. I’ll be on hand together with other experts who can help. But we also have some questions of our own which we want to ask the people who come along,” says Professor June Andrews who will also be launching the new book at the event.

“Dementia: the One Stop Guide is a really practical book packed with the sort of information which people have told us they need during our work in Northern Ireland and across the world. It gathers together what we know makes a difference to the lives of people affected by dementia and their families,” explains Professor Andrews, who is launching the book to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Centre.

“Our survey, Dementia – the Big Ask, complements the book by looking forward. It is about what will make a difference in the next 25 years. It is simple and takes around 10 minutes to complete on-line. All people need to do is log on at http://dementia.stir.ac.uk/ideas/big-ask. The survey will be open for the next few weeks”

“We want to know what happened to make dementia the most feared disease in society, when in reality many people suffer so much from the effects of other conditions and illnesses. 

“Until a cure is found, we will concentrate on how to make things better here and now, to prevent fear and suffering where it is unnecessary, through practical help and a focus on making things better. But to do that we need to know what people are thinking and as importantly, why.”