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Campaign to raise dementia awareness in King's Lynn

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A King's Lynn-based dementia care company has been running sessions for local businesses and communities to raise awareness of the syndrome.

Husband and wife Tom and Laura McEwan, of Home Instead Senior Care, teamed up with King’s Lynn Business Improvement District (BID) to provide the free sessions.

The couple had previously told the Lynn News they had set out a blueprint to fight the stigma and “lack of understanding” of dementia in Lynn.

They founded Dementia Friendly King’s Lynn, which is active on social media, when spreading the word of their ambition to make the town more aware.

And the sessions, which were held during last week and May, targeted a “wide range of people” with an interest in the condition.

Tom McEwan, of Wootton Road, said: “People coming along will have relatives affected and so far we have had a real mixture of people from various backgrounds which is really refreshing for us.

“Early diagnosis is really important as it might not just be old age forgetfulness. So just like cancer, it is important to seek support early.”

“In our professional life we have supported people as early as 50, and a lot of younger people who are diagnosed with depression and become withdrawn may be because of dementia.”

The company reach out to people in the surrounding villages and towns, but Lynn is the “hub of the local area”.

Mr McEwan said the company has had to work with the police when those affected accidentally commit a crime such as theft.

Laura and Tom McEwan
Laura and Tom McEwan

He gave the example of someone forgetting that they had put something in their bag and walking out of a shop without paying for it.

Everyday occurrences can have a negative effect such as not understanding the concept of queuing, he added.

Tom’s wife Laura, operations director at Home Instead said: “Our aim is to reduce the stigma that dementia has attached to it.

“If everyone had a basic level of knowledge and awareness of the disease and its effects, with a few simple techniques to care and communicate well with that person, then people living with dementia would have a more positive experience.”

Vicky Etheridge, Discover King’s Lynn manager said: “We’ve partnered with Home Instead and Dementia Friendly King’s Lynn because they have the expertise to raise awareness.

“The two-hour sessions really support businesses who may interact with people living with dementia and not know how to communicate and support them when they are going about their daily lives, such as going to the dentist or simply going shopping.”

Mr McEwan’s involvement with dementia treatment stemmed back to his 89-year-old receiving poor care in Sheffield.

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