Meet Dementia Friends Champion Ali Harrison

Ali Harrison image

Ali Harrison image

Ali Harrison applied to be a Dementia Friends Champion while on holiday – and has not looked back since. She explains why she is getting so much out of Dementia Friends.

My late mum had vascular dementia. While I was going on that journey with mum I had to learn by doing – there were no resources I could readily turn to.

I am now at a crossroads in my life and am about to retire so I’m looking for things that I feel really passionate about. I signed up to the first Dementia Friends Champions’ training session I could – even though it was in London and I live in Macclesfield.

I’ve run two Dementia Friends information sessions for people at work and am about to run my first ‘open’ session in my local church hall. It’s a little scary and I’ve learnt from each session but you get such a buzz afterwards. It really builds your confidence and I’m learning which of the Dementia Friends resources work best in different groups.

My personal favourite is the bingo exercise and I jazz it up a bit. For the session I ran close to Easter, I had people rolling chocolate eggs down the table as they called out numbers.

So far I’ve had some great reactions after the Dementia Friends’ sessions. One colleague was going to take her daughter with her when she next visited a neighbour so the neighbour with dementia could interact with younger people – she’d read in the Dementia Friends hand-out that that could be helpful. And I’ve had people ask questions they were too scared to ask before, such as if they were more at risk from dementia. It is really empowering to be able to signpost people to the information they need with confidence.

I’ve linked up with my local Alzheimer’s branch and met the manager. I wanted to talk to her and feel confident about signposting. It’s one of the things I’m most enjoying is making links in my local community. I met two women at a business meeting recently who were keen to know more so I connected with them through LinkedIn. There’s lots of networks people are already part of that you can use.

I don’t particularly like to admit it but I’m a little bit competitive. I’d like to think I could develop a niche of Dementia Friends up here in Macclesfield and turn this area into a really dementia friendly community. It’s an absolutely fabulous opportunity.

If you would like to volunteer as a Dementia Friends Champion please read more then set up an account. You can then search for training sessions.

7 thoughts on “Meet Dementia Friends Champion Ali Harrison

  1. maria baynard

    Hello I live in Kent so I could go anywhere for the Champions training looking forward to hearing from you
    Thanks
    Maria

  2. mold inspection brooklyn

    I tend not to leave a bunch of remarks, however i did some searching and wound
    up here Dementia Friends Champion Ali Harrison.
    And I actually do have some questions for you if it’s allright.
    Could it be simply me or does it look like a few of the responses appear like left
    by brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are posting on other social sites,
    I’d like to keep up with anything new you have to post.
    Would you list of all of all your social pages like your twitter
    feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  3. Mary Staples

    I would like to make contact with a Dementia Friend in Macclesfield by e mail or phone 07714248644

    Have tried a short while ago but no response

    1. Dementia Friends Post author

      Hi Mary – many thanks for your message.

      If you are trying to contact the Dementia Friends team, you can email us on dementiafriends@alzheimers.org.uk.

      Otherwise, Alzheimer’s Society provides lots of support and advice:

      • The Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Helpline 0300 222 1122 can provide information, support, guidance and signposting to other appropriate organisations.

      • The Alzheimer’s Society website has lots of information, advice, fact sheets and other resources available: http://alzheimers.org.uk/

      • You could visit Talking Point, Alzheimer’s Society’s discussion forum for anyone affected by dementia: http://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/forum.php

      • You can search for local services in your area here: http://alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents.php?categoryID=200121

      Best wishes,

      Lucien

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