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Webhelp is delighted to be working in partnership with Dementia UK as their corporate charity for 2020. When things get challenging or difficult, Admiral Nurses work alongside people with dementia, and their families: giving them one-to-one support, expert guidance and practical solutions. Today we talk to Admiral Nurse, Vicky Loewer, about her work on the Dementia UK Helpline and her personal commitment to fundraising.
Tell us about the life-changing work you do with the Dementia UK helpline?
I have been working on the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline since 2016. It is such a fulfilling role for me as I come into contact with a wide range of people. As dementia specialists, the Admiral Nurses on the Helpline provide the most appropriate advice, tailored to individual circumstances.
It doesn’t matter what stage of dementia a family is at as we support families throughout the progression of the condition.
Can you give a real life example of how a call can make a difference?
There was one woman whose family member was showing signs of dementia but was refusing to accept support or to acknowledge that there might be a problem. I talked to the woman to gain a thorough understanding of the family situation, such as how their loved one was coping with day-to-day life.
I advised her to approach these symptoms as a general medical condition so their family member would be less anxious about a GP appointment. Dementia still has a lot of stigma but as Admiral Nurses, we shine a light on the condition and help families feel more confident about it.
On this particular call, I highlighted the importance of getting an appointment with a GP as this can be the route to a diagnosis and could rule out other treatable conditions, which may have similar symptoms to dementia, like depression. I spoke to the woman about the importance of building up trust and to see if there was anyone that the family member would be most comfortable with in taking them to the GP.
Are there any challenges in working on the helpline?
A lot of the work of an Admiral Nurse is being aware of family dynamics and finding the best route forward in light of these, which is a challenging as well as fulfilling part of the role. I’m passionate about raising awareness of the vital work which Admiral Nurses do. There’s a great team of Admiral Nurses working on the Helpline already but we do need to continue to grow to support the increased number of calls we’re receiving.
We know you are a keen fundraiser for Dementia UK, can you share any experiences or ideas that our employees could use?
I know quite a few local people who have family members with dementia so I decided to hold a Time for a Cuppa event at our local church hall.
The church warden advertised the coffee morning to all church members and placed posters on the church notice board which was a great awareness boost for the event. I also emailed the local school, which is connected to the church, and they kindly sent an email out in support too.
There was a great turnout on the day with over 50 people attending over a 3 hour period! It was fantastic to be supported on the day by three friends and another Admiral Nurse, Barbara Fitzpatrick. My close friends donated cakes and I made three cakes myself.
Tell us more about the Time for a Cuppa campaign…
The next Time for a Cuppa campaign week will be held on the 1st – 8th March but you can hold your tea party on any day – or month – that suits you! Just Invite some guests, bake (or buy) some cakes, take some donations and enjoy catching up with friends and family!
I would say the more cakes you have the better – so consider finding a way to sell them if they do not all go on the day. We sold over half of the cakes at the coffee morning and the rest I sold as an after-school cake sale.
Time for a Cuppa is such a wonderful event which brings people from all walks of life together. It’s a huge honour to be an Admiral Nurse and to help raise awareness of the vital work we do through events like this.
We will be supporting Dementia UK throughout the year and posting regular fundraising stories, led by our on-site Engagement Ambassadors at www.webhelp.com
To find out more about the valuable work of Dementia UK visit www.dementiauk.org
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