VIDEO ► Trendsetting Young Dementia Ambassadors

A Family model for effective intergenerational exchange.

When was the last time someone made a public speech that knocked you off guard and left you with a lump in your throat?

On the 14th of May 2014 I was privileged to attend, as a guest and speaker, the Association for Dementia Studies‘ (ADS) 5th anniversary celebration.

It would be fair to conclude that a highlight for all was a speech made, not by one person, but a family of three!

June Hennell, in memory of her late husband Brian who lived with dementia, announced her generous sponsorship of the Hennell Award for Innovation and Excellence in Dementia Care.

However, when June took to the stage she did so with her two grandchildren.

You could hear a coin drop.

Their eloquent and heartfelt speech was followed by a standing ovation.

Here is a brief extract:

Young people are more likely to want to learn about dementia and shout out for the cause.

The West Midlands has been the birth place for developing dementia intergenerational exchange in England, now part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia.

Thanks to an impressive partnership, we now witness a social movement in exponential growth, catching on in hundreds of schools, touching the imagination of thousands of pupils, teachers, people with dementia, carers and citizens across England.

The impact to date has been measurable, positive and truly inspirational.

Young people are proving adept at grasping dementia. They get that it is not a normal part of ageing, and can see how it is possible to live well with it.

They are not fazed by the stigma and yet they can mobilise communities into achieving positive outcomes.

England’s schools, educators, local communities, health and social care planners amongst others must do more to embrace, support and promote our trendsetting young dementia ambassadors.

Sustaining the steady flow of graduating dementia friendly generations must occupy central place in all current and future English dementia strategies.

The Hennell award, set to become an annual event, celebrates the ability to implement positive change for people living with dementia.

For more on the Hennell award and the extraordinary family behind it, including the nomination process, please contact the ADS.

Meanwhile, hats off to the Hennells, and happy birthday to the ADS!