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Vicky Loewer’s Time for a Cuppa
I have been working on the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline since 2016. It’s such a fulfilling role for me as I can support a wide range of people from all over the UK.
My role as an Admiral Nurse
As dementia specialists, my colleagues and I provide callers with the most appropriate advice, tailored to their individual circumstances. It doesn’t matter what stage of dementia a family is at, we support them throughout. From getting a diagnosis to managing the later stages.
We often receive calls from family members who are concerned that their loved one is showing signs of dementia but is refusing to accept support or to acknowledge that there might be a problem. Admiral Nurses need to be aware of family dynamics and find the best route forward, which can be a challenging as well as fulfilling part of our role.
How I support families
I remember speaking to one caller who was worried that her mother was showing signs of dementia but was adamant that she would not see her GP. I asked questions to gain a thorough understanding of the family situation, such as how her mother was coping with day-to-day life and which family members she was closest to.
I suggested that the caller asked someone in the family to take on the role of supporting her mother with seeing her GP – the caller felt that her adult daughter would be best, as she had a very close bond with her grandmother.
I also advised the caller that it was important to explain to her mother that her symptoms may be due to another health condition that may be treatable, and that if it was dementia, the GP could refer her to a memory clinic for more investigations – the earlier the diagnosis is made, the sooner people can get the right support.
Taking part in Time for a Cuppa
I wanted to take part in Time for a Cuppa as I know quite a few people locally who have family members with dementia, and I’m passionate about raising awareness of the work that Admiral Nurses do.
We have a great team working on the Helpline already, but we need to continue to grow so we can support the increasing number of people who contact us.
I held my Time for a Cuppa event in our local church hall. The churchwarden advertised it to church members and placed posters on the church notice board. I also emailed my children’s primary school, which is connected to the church. I asked them to invite parents who may like dementia support or be interested to find out more about Dementia UK. There was a great turnout, with over 50 people attending over a three-hour period.
I had fantastic support on the day from three friends and a fellow Admiral Nurse, Barbara Fitzpatrick. My close friends donated cakes, and I made three cakes myself. I would say the more you have, the better – and 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 event, and I sold the rest at 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 our vital work through an event like this.
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