Uni student volunteers for the social action movement – Dementia Friends

When I was 19 my father endured a huge haemorrhagic stroke that left him completely paralysed down his right, and now 6 years later is in the final stages of vascular dementia. My mum, my sisters and I have been witness to every stage and constantly having to adapt to a ‘new dad’. My parents have been married for over 30 years, but sadly he no longer knows who my mum is anymore.

When I heard of the Dementia Friends Champions training I knew it was immediately something I wanted to hear about and be a part of. The training was a great day, dispelling any misconceptions I had, such as dementia just being for old people, and how often the media can get it so horribly wrong. Hearing the stories of the others in the training made me realise how different it can affect everybody of any age from all walks of life. I’m also a final 4th year speech and language therapist, on my placements I have encountered many patients with dementia, by attending the training I hope to implement the skills I learnt into my clinical practice and support patients better in the future.  As a champion I can now deliver Dementia Friends Information Sessions to my fellow students and help them to create dementia friendly communities.  It’s not just great for all of us involved in clinical professions, I also made friends with a girl on the Champions training who had just graduated in finance from a top London university, she told me how dementia awareness is crucial with assisting clients with their finances- therefore I definitely feel the training is relevant to all degree disciplines because inevitably we will all go into the working world and meet a huge scope of people.

It’s part of our role in society to take responsibility to changing attitudes towards Dementia, by becoming “aware” we can no doubt shift previous stigmas and misconceptions, and move in to a dementia aware society. By becoming a champion I hope to play a part in this huge social action movement – Dementia Friends, and create copious amounts of dementia friends… small steps but huge gains.  Another key message is that it is the first campaign I have been involved in which aren’t after money, just peoples time to sit still long enough to listen to the importance of being aware of this harrowing illness.

Dayna Clarke

Dementia Friends Champion

4 thoughts on “Uni student volunteers for the social action movement – Dementia Friends

  1. Caroline Edmunds

    Well done you. I am a student nurse and also have had an uncle die of a very nasty form of dementia with a rapid decline. It was so sad and I miss him a lot. Good luck with everything

  2. Barbi Lucas

    Dear Dayna,

    I am hugely encouraged by your entry, and couldn’t agree more. I’m a medical doctor, and am totally aware of how distressing dementia is for the sufferer and their relatives.
    I should lie to train as a dementia champion, but am a wheelchair user who does not drive, so I would have difficulty getting to the venue.
    Well done Dayna, and good luth your career. Something tells me you will be excellent!

  3. jessica

    hi there, reading your story I can see mt self writing this as my self at 19 I was giceo the news my mum had dementia at the age of 58 and I cant even begin to say how glad I am this topic is getting more awareness it deserves, I would love to do able to do this as its something i know I would love to do! its heart breaking watching someone you love so dearly become a new person with out being able to do anything about it! I find coming to terms with my mum hard because I was expecting my first child and felt angry because I felt my mum had been taken from me. seeing her become a new person is very hard and has impacted me! so to be able to do something so life changing I would love so much!!

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