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A rock star dementia champion in Liverpool

A rock star dementia champion in Liverpool

by CHRISTIAN SADLER

Since Gina Shaw, a 62-year-old retired children’s nurse, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she has been on a mission to make her native Liverpool dementia-friendly.

The Guardian posted this story, as part of their association with Dementia Friends, in the U.K.

“I was in my mid-50s when I started forgetting things. I used to go to lots of meetings at work and, when I came back to base, I’d find people had returned things for me – a scarf, a notebook – that I had left behind.

I didn’t think much of it at first, nobody did. But then my concentration got worse. The main thing was calculations: for me being a children’s nurse, there were calculations about drugs, feeds for babies, and so forth. So then I decided I shouldn’t [be a nurse] any more. I stopped at 60, before I got diagnosed.”

Shaw goes on to tell the story of a doctor who told her to stop worrying; she eventually was diagnosed with vascular dementia; a year later, it was definitely diagnosed as Alzheimer’s.

Her best quote: “Since then, the world has opened up for me.”

She joined a post-diagnostic support group and started going to a local gym twice a week, joined a group called Singing for the Brain, an art therapy group and more. Shaw loves it.

The most inspiring part: “We started our own Surf group – service users reference forum – and I’m the co-chair. Surf is a group of people with dementia who decide what they want to happen to them. We want to make Liverpool a dementia-friendly city.”

Liverpool, of course, is where The Beatles got their start playing gigs at the Cavern Club. Now it’s set to be a leader on this completely new front.

Initiatives like Dementia Friends are much-needed and forward-thinking. Could you start a dementia-friendly movement in the province or state where you live?



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