Big thank you from

Mabel Stevenson

Mabel StevensonMABEL Stevenson is a Dementia Support Worker For the Alzheimer's Society for Down and Lisburn City Council areas. She took up her current post in 2007. Alzheimer's Society is the leading care and research charity for people with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. In Northern Ireland it provides information, support and signposting through services including carer support groups; carer information programmes; information/support visits; advocacy; activity/befriending groups; domiciliary care and a dementia helpline. Alzheimer's Society campaigns for improved health and social care and greater public awareness and understanding of all aspects of dementia. There are currently 17,000 people living with dementia in Northern ireland and that figure could increase to over 47,000 by the middle of this century.

I work Monday to Friday 9-5 but 1 also attend support group meetings some evenings too.

When I get into my office I have a cup of tea to get me started for the day.

There are lots of different aspects to my job. Most mornings I spend my time planning my work schedule. I could be arranging a social outing for people with dementia or carers or preparing to give a talk to a local community group. I may have a home visit to make to a carer to tell them about the support and information we provide and I will also refer them to other agencies which can help too.

The Society provide services for people living with dementia throughout Northern Ireland. We provide practical services and support for people with dementia and their carers. Our local services. include day care and home care for people with dementia, as well as support and befriending services to help partners and families cope with the demands of caring. Once a month I organise an activity group for people with dementia and their carers with the help of our dedicated volunteers. Activities vary each month and may include music therapy, arts and crafts or gentle exercise. It's up to me to let people know about it and organise the actual activity taking place.

I run monthly carer support group meetings in Ballynahinch, Newcastle and Downpatrick and I also attend the South Eastern Trust's group which is held in Lagan Valley Hospital on the first Thursday of every month at 7pm. Groups provide opportunity for peer support and information. I organise a speaker to talk on a particular subject like benefits or someone who can give an overview of dementia and how it affects a person.

Throughout the day I could be taking calls from people who want information so I will then send them out leaflets and booklets produced by the Alzheimer's Society. We also have a dementia support grant scheme and I go through the applications for these as well as make people aware that it exists. I speak to my line manager on a regular basis as well.

I have regular contact with our dedicated confidential helpline in Belfast which runs Monday . Friday 9-5 the number for this is 90-664100. I also offer emotional support so people living with dementia can talk about their situation, how to access support and to cope with the illness. I really enjoy being able to offer information and support to people who really need it.

Alzheimer's Society vision is of a radically improved world for people with dementia. A world where they have their rights recognized, where they can fully contribute to family and community life and where they can live with dignity, free from discrimination. A world where people living with dementia have access to information, care and support they need to lead well . A world, ultimately, where dementia can be defeated. * If you would like to get in touch with Mabel you can contact her on 44839628.

Ulster Star