Debbie Abrahams is first MP to be Dementia Friends Champion

DEBBIE ABRAHAMS, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, has become the first MP to be trained by the Alzheimer’s Society as a Dementia Friends Champion.

p7 Debbie dementia run
DEMENTIA FRIENDS CHAMPION: Debbie at the Great Manchester Run

Debbie, who has set creating a dementia-friendly constituency as one of her top ten priorities, completed the one-day training session last month.

It makes her the first MP nationwide to become a Dementia Friends Champion as the Alzheimer’s Society aims to sign up 1 million Dementia Friends by 2015.

Debbie, whose mother was diagnosed with dementia, said: “When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia very few of us are in a position to immediately know how to provide the best care for them and help them adjust.

“Having lived through that experience I found the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends Champion training was a chance to reflect on what I learned about dementia through trial and error.

“It underlined again for me how important it is that we do everything we can ensure communities adapt to the needs of people with dementia, and of course their carers.

“I hope to encourage more people to join me and to reduce the stigma associated with a diagnosis of dementia.”

Debbie will be working with Helen Morris, Services Manager for Greater Manchester Dementia Friendly Communities.

Helen added: “It’s great to have Debbie on board as we must all do more than just talk about creating dementia-friendly communities; we must actively take part in the process.

“The aim of our work is to reduce feelings of isolation and increasing the confidence of people living with dementia and allow them to live their lives fully, knowing they will be met with understanding and respect.”

Debbie also took on the Great Manchester 10k run during Dementia Awareness Week last month and raised more than £650 for the Alzheimer’s Society as she finished in 54 minutes and 33 seconds.

And Debbie has volunteered to host a Dementia Friends information session for people working in Parliament in June and will be arranging a similar session in the constituency.

Helen Morris would like to hear from any organisation which delivers services or support within Uppermill and the surrounding villages and who would like to get involved.

Anyone interested in helping her with the initiative or finding out more can reach her by post at: Alzheimer’s Society, Dunham House, 85-89 Cross Street, Manchester M337HH. You can also email her at Helen.morris@alzheimers.org.uk or call or text her on 07740 178310.

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