George Rook, a volunteer with Healthwatch Shropshire, has given up huge amounts of his own time to help raise awareness of the condition.
After experiencing problems receiving his own dementia diagnosis and post diagnosis support, George decided to dedicate himself to making things better for people with dementia and their carers.
George has helped make health and social care services better by highlighting the issues people with dementia face, and has made his community more dementia aware.
He formed and chairs the Shropshire and Telford Dementia Action Alliance. He also provides regular provides training to organisations and members of the public in how to communicate with people with dementia.
Together with Healthwatch Shropshire, he has helped to produce and inform a new way dementia care is provided in Shropshire, to make sure people get the care and support they need. As a result of George’s input, the Alzheimers Society locally has been commissioned to recruit ‘Dementia Companions’ to support people who have been diagnosed.
In addition George has helped bring about:
Two support groups, where people living with dementia can meet and talk about their experiences.
The Butterfly Scheme, which sees medical staff pinning a butterfly to people’s notes to enable others to quickly and discreetly see that they have dementia, which has been introduced in the three local NHS health Trusts.
The Carer’s Passport, which enables carers to stay with patients during hospital stays to provide reassurance, help with eating and drinking, and other day-to-day activities, if they wish to.
Thanks to George – and the organisations he’s worked with – more people in Shropshire understand how dementia affects people, and where to go for support.
The more that people share their ideas, experiences and concerns about NHS and social care, the more services can understand when improvements are needed. But, to make the biggest difference, we need to hear from more people.