It’s Dementia Action Week (21st – 27th May) and here at Unforgettable we have been turning our minds to what small (or not so small) actions we can take to improve the lives of people living with dementia and their family carers.

‘’Small Actions. Big Impact’ is the theme set by the Alzheimer’s Society and people are invited to post on social media to let people know what actions they are taking to make a difference to the lives of people affected by dementia. Learn more here and use the hashtag #DAW2018

On Tuesday, Unforgettable partnered with Alzheimer’s Society and John Bell & Croyden, in hosting the first in a series of coffee mornings for carers, at the flagship central London store in Wigmore Street. Also, on Wednesday, Victoria (Head of Retail) and I spent a day at Guys Hospital in London, speaking about the work of Unforgettable and the products and services that we offer. We spoke to people passing through Atrium 2 in the Bermondsey Wing, as part of a collaborative Dementia Action Week initiative to raise awareness of dementia. We even spoke to a family who had, minutes earlier, come from a consultation during which a family member had been informed of her diagnosis of vascular dementia. Our help, at this very early point, was much appreciated by her son.

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Barbara and Victoria at Guys Hospital this week

One of my early actions, as Caregiver-in-Chief at Unforgettable, was to deliver a ‘Dementia Friends’ information session for all the Unforgettable staff. I am very pleased to say that everyone chose to enrol as a ‘Dementia Friend’. Badges are worn with pride and, to support Dementia Action Week, each member of staff has pledged to take an action (large or small) that will have a positive impact on the life of someone, or many people, living with dementia.

I have been impressed by their imagination and creativity.

Steven, our Digital Marketing Manager, along with his wife, who is a school teacher, will be embarking on an initiative to link together a primary school and a care home in the area near to their home, focused on the production of a play, in which older people and children will take part. I have encouraged him to write about it when his project is underway, plus takes some pictures. This will certainly enrich the lives of people living in the care home, and will be invaluable education for the children too.

David, our CEO, will be taking his two beautiful dogs, Barnaby and Phoebe, to visit a care home. Many people with dementia love animals and this kind of interaction truly enhances their wellbeing and sense of enjoyment.

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Meet Barnaby and Phoebe!

Website Manager, Paul will be running the Kew Gardens 10k and raising money for Alzheimer’s Society. You can sponsor him here.

Several staff members have signed up for the UCL on-line course ‘The Many Faces of Dementia’ in order to learn about some of the rarer types of dementia. You too can register for this free 4-week course here.

And we are all taking time to listen to some of the many inspiring ‘Dementia Diaries’ – podcasts created by people living with dementia, providing invaluable insight into the real-life experience of dementia. You can listen to these Dementia Diaries here.

If you are caring for a family member with dementia, do consider signing up to our Facebook community, where you can share your experiences, ask questions, or simply express your feelings and frustrations, safe in the knowledge that others will understand your situation. If you are already a contributor to the community, we’d be pleased to hear your feedback.

I have been involved in the dementia field for a long time and have witnessed many changes and the huge growth in awareness in recent years. There is no much positive energy within the dementia movement, and this is truly something to be celebrated.

I feel privileged to be part of the Unforgettable team and would like to conclude my blog this week by paying special tribute to the founder of Unforgettable, James Ashwell, whose own heart breaking personal story led to the creation of this wonderful organisation. You can watch our founder's story here.

Every small action is important: if your one small action makes a difference to the life of one person with dementia for one day – or even just for a moment - then your efforts were worthwhile. All our small actions, taken together, make a huge difference and really will change the world.

We would love to hear what actions you or those close to you have taken for Dementia Action Week: feel free to drop me an e-mail at askbarbara@unforgettable.org and tell us all about it.