Charity worker recognised for increasing awareness of dementia

Alzheimer_s_Society_AlliAlzheimer’s Society services manager Alli Anthony has been nominated for a top national award in recognition of her work making life better for people with dementia in Waltham Forest.

Alli manages the delivery of a range of services supporting people living with dementia in the London Borough of Waltham Forest and has trained more than 780 people as Dementia Friends – people who learn about what it’s like to live with dementia and then turn their knowledge into practical action through campaigning or volunteering.

She has been put forward for the Bevan Foundation 2015 Bevan Prize presented to both an individual and an organisation that have made an outstanding contribution to health and wellbeing in the UK.

Alzheimer’s Society research shows that this year 850,000 people in the UK will be living with a form of dementia. This is predicted to rise to 2 million by 2051.

Alli, whose mother was a retired GP living with dementia when she died in 2011, has organised Dementia Friends sessions for any number from three people at a time up to 100, helping to increase understanding of the disease.

Alli’s successes also include working with GPs to increase diagnosis rates of dementia in the borough over the past year from 54 per cent to more than 70 per cent – one of the biggest improvements in the country.

She worked to establish the Waltham Forest Dementia Action Alliance, which draws together 35 businesses and organisations ranging from the Metropolitan Police through to Leyton Orient FC and the William Morris Galley. Each organisation pledged to complete three actions to make Waltham Forest a better place for people living with dementia.

Alli explains: “All of the things we are achieving in supporting people with dementia are the result of lots of people working together and I’m honoured by the nomination which is recognition for the whole team.”

Alzheimers Society estimates that dementia costs the UK economy over £26 billion per year – the equivalent of more than £30,000 per person with dementia.

Given the scale of the challenge, Alli’s work is strongly supported by Waltham Forest Council.

Senel Arkut, divisional director of adult social care, said: “Alli works tirelessly to increase awareness of dementia in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. Within the last year she has made a significant difference in improving the knowledge and understanding of how dementia impacts on lives and how the community can support people to live a quality life with dementia.”

She adds: “With her unique style Alli has engaged groups from the very young to professionals, to take interest in the topic, create a strong collective voice for our residents and become Dementia Friends. I am proud to say that, thanks to Alli and her determination, LBWF is now a dementia friendly place where our older people and those with early onset dementia are treated with respect and dignity.”

By Howard Keil

To find out more about becoming a Dementia Friend go to: www.dementiafriends.org.uk