Midhurst project ensures life doesn’t stop when dementia starts

Margaret Guest, left, and Rebecca Robertson discussing dementia at an awareness event at the Grange Centre
Margaret Guest, left, and Rebecca Robertson discussing dementia at an awareness event at the Grange Centre

Imagine arriving at the supermarket and suddenly your carefully prepared shopping list looks like double Dutch

You’ve written a list of groceries vertically in two columns, but you’re trying to read across the page and asking bewildered and perhaps not very helpful assistants for ‘chicken cheese’.

It is a scenario illustrating the frustrating and frightening daily battle for those struggling to live with dementia who find it increasingly difficult to cope with things most people take for granted.

And that is why a group of people in Midhurst are working hard to ensure that life doesn’t stop when dementia begins.

The Midhurst Dementia Hub was launched last year in response to feedback from people coping with the condition.

And now a steering group is going a step further in gathering businesses, traders and individuals to sign up to a Midhurst Dementia Alliance.

And ultimately the goal is to make the town an officially recognised ‘dementia friendly’ place where people living with dementia can face day to day life with more confidence and support.

One of the leading figures in the campaign to raise awareness of the problems of dementia and enlist support from all sections of the town is Toni Holloway, Mind Mental Health Services team manager for the Midhurst Area.

“The message from people was that there was no one place where they could get the right information about dementia or memory loss at the right time,” Toni told the Observer.

In answer to this plea, the town’s dementia hub is now open every Tuesday from 10am-midday in the Willow Room at the Grange Community and Leisure Centre.

“There is a huge array of information leaflets and booklets and staff on hand to support you to find the right information,” said Toni.

“Anyone can drop in with or without an appointment to find out more from a rota of professionals from Mind, the Alzheimer’s Society and Carers Support available for consultation and a quarterly ‘marketplace’ where you can find out about all the different types of support available.”

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