3 reasons why I walked for my Grandad and raised money for Alzheimer’s

Today’s blog post comes from Trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner Hannah Cartmell – you can find out more about Hannah in her author bio at the foot of this post.

Having worked in mental health and social care services for 10 years I always considered myself as an understanding person. However, the phrase “you never fully understand something until it happens to you” became ever so true when my Grandad was diagnosed with dementia. The impact of my Grandad’s illness has been massive and my heart breaks watching my Mum lose her dad and my Grandad lose himself.

Nevertheless every cloud has a silver lining and come September 2015 I had the opportunity to do something different. I signed up to take part in The Alzheimer’s Society’s Manchester Memory walk at Heaton Park, walked 10km and raised £420 for the residential home which takes care of my Grandad!

And here’s why I did:

(1) Money for fun!

Living with and managing the day to day impact of dementia can be stressful to say the least and can often mean things like fun can get side lined. One of my main reasons for raising the money was so my Grandad and all the residents and staff at Linear Park could have a laugh, with hopes of funding some entertainment or activity either by going out somewhere or staying in!

(2) To break the silence

Many people don’t talk about difficult issues such as dementia and the progressive impact of the illness. As I consider myself to be an aspiring Psychologist, I believe this is wrong! Why shouldn’t we talk about things which are difficult and support each other through it? Some find talking about difficult issues uncomfortable and therefore avoid it. This only means the silences of these issues grow. I believe that talking about Dementia is okay and you tend to find when people share their experiences and how they feel, it brings them closer together and we feel less alone. Dementia has the power to isolate people and some of those with dementia feel they are going through it on their own. So I say let’s say it, name it and be together with it.

(3) For my Grandad and my Mum

Finally, I wanted to walk for and proudly raised awareness for my Grandad as he has lost the ability to do this for himself. I wanted to make my mark and show him that he is not alone; I am here for him and will stand beside him. I also walked for my Mum who takes on a lot of the responsibilities around my Grandad’s care. She is an amazing and strong woman whom I admire and whom I can only hope to be 1/10th of someday.

 

hannah_familyFrom the left: Sister, Grandad, me and Mum

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Hannah Cartmell

Trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, Expert by Experience for the Care Quality Commission and BSc Psychology graduate. 10 years’ experience working within health and social care services and first-hand experience of supporting her Granddad who has vascular dementia.
Hannah Cartmell
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