This weekend QPR take on Bournemouth in their final pre-season fixture, a game which will see the club honour the legendary Stan Bowles, who is sadly living with Alzheimer’s disease. Karen McCrudden, Operations Manager for West London at Alzheimer’s Society, has explained the challenges Stan and his family face – and how you can help.
“We’ve been working closely with Stan and his family over the past two years to raise awareness of dementia. We are also so grateful to QPR for getting behind the cause and ensuring supporters are part of the movement to unite against dementia.
“Living with dementia can have a big emotional, social, psychological and practical impact - not just on the person with the condition, but their family too. Some people we’ve spoken with describe this impact as a series of ‘losses’ and how adjusting to life after a diagnosis can be really challenging.
“When a person with dementia feels that their mental abilities are declining, they may feel vulnerable and need reassurance and support.
“We have information and practical advice for those living with dementia on our website here.
“Living with dementia can be difficult for everyone involved. Over time, relationships with loved ones may change and it can be difficult for families to adjust.
“Some relatives may struggle to accept that a loved one has dementia, or won’t know what to say. It’s important to allow people to come to terms with dementia in their own way and time.
“There is plenty you can do to maintain a positive relationship when living with dementia. Taking part in activities as a family unit can also help people focus on the positive aspects of their relationships. This could include putting together photo albums, joining a local support group, or simply making time to go on day trips together and continue doing things you all love. Whether that’s watching a QPR game or heading to the beach!
“It’s also important that family members know they can access our support services by phone on 0300 222 11 22. Our online forum, Talking Point, is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“With 850,000 people across the UK living with dementia, it’s everyone’s responsibility to learn how the condition can affect individuals. We should also remember that everyone’s experience is unique and the symptoms that affect one person with dementia might not affect another.
“One simple way you can support Stan – or anyone affected by dementia – is by becoming a Dementia Friend. Whether you attend a face-to-face session or watch our online video, you can learn more about dementia and the small ways you can help.
“If every person attending the match becomes a Dementia Friend, Stan, his family and the community would be better for it.
“It’s great to see that QPR have organised the event to honour Stan as well as raise funds for his care. It all helps to reduce the stigma surrounding dementia as we get people talking about the condition.
“Life doesn’t have to end when dementia begins. People living with the condition should be able to continue doing the things they love, like supporting their football club – especially if it’s the club they spent years playing for!”
Unite with Alzheimer’s Society today by becoming a Dementia Friend and visit alzheimers.org.uk for more information