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Praise for Alzheimers Society as Pentney carer admits 'the impact of dementia is greater on you than the person diagnosed'

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A carer has praised the support of the Alzheimer's Society and admits that as a carer "the impact of dementia is greater on you than the person diagnosed".

Paula Burrows, of Pentney, cares for her husband Roger, 73, who is living with mixed dementia after being diagnosed in June. She now urges others in a similar situation to reach out and talk to professionals on hand.

As part of Carers Rights Day on Thursday, the Alzheimer’s Society is urging people caring for a loved one with dementia in Norfolk, where more than 16,700 people are living with the condition, to get in touch if they have questions about the support and benefits they are entitled to.

Paula and Roger Burrows, of Pentney (53264498)
Paula and Roger Burrows, of Pentney (53264498)

The charity estimates this silent army of 1.8 million unpaid carers save the UK economy £13.9 billion a year, including £255.6 million in Norfolk, but says many are unaware of where to turn to for help.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, over six million people in the UK have accessed the charity’s services.

The charity offers vital support has been a real lifeline for thousands during the crisis but they want to reach more people affected by dementia.

Its team of dementia advisers, funded in part thanks to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, help the partners, family members and friends caring for loved ones to navigate the complicated maze of health and social care services.

Paula said: “We were introduced to Andy, a dementia support worker at Alzheimer’s Society in Norfolk, around the time that Roger was being referred for tests.

"His diagnosis came as no surprise to me as I’d noticed changes with his memory, especially through lockdown when we spent so much time together.

“Andy has been very helpful with his information and advice. Knowing you can speak to someone who understands is such a relief at times. Andy has guided me through assessments and steps to put in place such as power of attorney.

“I used to work in social care so have some understanding of the system but I can really appreciate how much of a minefield it is, and people really shouldn’t go through it alone.

“Andy calls me once every few months to check how we are doing and to see if there’s any support we need. As a carer I feel the impact of dementia is greater on you than the person diagnosed.

“It’s an uncertain future but having Alzheimer’s Society there to talk to is very re-assuring and I’d urge anyone else in a similar situation to reach out.”

Andy Peacock is part of a team of dementia support workers at the Alzheimer’s Society in Norfolk, he said: “We are here for anyone affected by dementia, no one should have to go through the condition alone. We can provide both practical and emotional support, advice and signpost to other organisations locally that can help.

“With the festive period coming up, some families will feel the added pressure of caring for a loved one or notice changes when spending time together. The Alzheimer’s Society’s website has tips for creating a dementia friendly Christmas

“As an organisation, our ‘Cure the Care System’ campaign calls on the Government to reform social care to make it fit for the future.

"Decades of under-funding has led to a system that is difficult to access, costly, inadequate and unfair.

"We believe social care should be free at the point of use, like the NHS and education, and easy to access for anyone affected by dementia.”

Anyone affected by dementia in Norfolk, can call the Alzheimer’s Society’s Norfolk and Waveney dementia advice and support service, on 01603 763556 or email norfolk@alzheimers.org.uk

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