Meeting up with other local people affected by dementia is hugely important. But many are now going further and forging links across borders which are creating an international network of peer support.
James McKillop and his wife Maureen travelled all round the world to meet peers in Japan. James, a founder member of the groundbreaking Scottish Dementia Working Group, had been invited to appear at two ‘Heart Forums’ in Tokyo and Osaka. The theme on both occasions was ‘A new dawn – people living with dementia mapping out their destiny’. The message from James: to exchange learning and share lived experiences. His audiences in Tokyo and Osaka were deeply moved. To James’ astonishment he found that his Japanese peers shared the same experiences, mirroring his frustrations, fears and hopes to create a dementia friendly world, a better life ahead for the current 46 million people living with dementia worldwide – and for the many millions to follow.
You can read more on James’ trip on the blog he co-wrote with Dr Mayumi Hayashi from King’s College London
Others are following suit. Contacts from Bruges Foton project braved the Channel ferry to visit members of the York group Minds & Voices. Together they had a trip round the Homestead Park, joined in a discussion about the film ‘Still Alice’ and sang with Singing for the Brain in the center of York.
The EDUCATE group in Stockport were also lucky enough receive an award that enabled them to travel to meet similar groups in Italy and Belgium.
And now Agnes Houston has been granted a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust award which will allow her to travel to Canada.
People with dementia are taking peer support to a whole new level!