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Families urged to 'make time count' and join Memory Walks

14-Jul-16
Article By: Melissa McAlees, News Editor

Alzheimer’s Society, the leading dementia charity, has urged families across the country to spend time together and join local Memory Walks, as it’s revealed families are spending less time together.

According to new research, almost half of British families only spend up to five hours a week of ‘quality time’ together, with 13 per cent of families spending one hour or less each week together.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Modern life is having a huge impact on the time families spend together. Memory Walk is a great opportunity for all generations of every family to turn the tide and come together to walk for a world without dementia.

“We already know that what’s good for the heart is good for the head, and regular exercise is one of the best ways to help reduce your risk of developing dementia - all while enjoying a great day out in the fresh air with those you care about.

Dementia risk

“The money you raise for Alzheimer’s Society will better support those living with dementia and help to find a cure. Every person, every pound, every step will bring us closer.”

Over two in five parents surveyed said that they did not feel they spent enough quality time with their immediate families, citing ‘modern life’ difficulties as the reason, including: difficulty scheduling time when everyone is free, watching TV separately, using social media, working long hours and carrying out household chores and admin.

Encouragingly, over half of parents said they do enjoy taking part in exercise and outdoor activities, such as long walks and sports with their families.

However, one in three people have revealed they do not feel they take part in exercise often enough with their family, while one in five said they do not even manage a family walk once a year.

Considerable research conducted by NIHR and University of York shows that taking part in regular exercise can help reduce the risk of getting dementia, and there is also evidence to show that exercising outside in a rural environment or green spaces is also highly beneficial for people’s mental health and overall well-being.

Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging families across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to take part in a Memory Walk this September and October, which are being held in association with HSBC.

Taking part in Memory Walk will help reverse the trend of families spending little time together, and can boost an individual’s mood and reduce their chance of getting dementia.

At present, 850,000 people in the UK are living dementia, a figure which is expected to rise to over one million by 2021.

Making memories

Award-winning actress Vicky McClure, who stars in the period drama The Secret Agent, is taking part in a Nottingham Memory Walk with her mum, sister, nephew and family dogs. Vicky said: “My Nana, Iris, was diagnosed with dementia in 2013 and I soon began to see first-hand the difficulties many families go through when a loved one is diagnosed with this cruel condition.

Memory Walk Battersea 2014 “My Nana was such a stylish, confident and proud woman before the dementia took hold and it was heart breaking when she was unable to recognise me and my family. Nana Iris lost her battle with dementia in 2014.

“Memory Walk is such a worthwhile event and this year will be my sixth in a row. It’s a great opportunity to get together with your family, enjoy time walking together and remember loved ones - I would love to see everyone putting their best foot forward to support Alzheimer’s Society and all those affected by dementia.”

The charity has revealed that with the money raised £650 would pay for a brain scan to help diagnosis, £100 would allow someone with dementia to attend ten Singing for the Brain sessions, and £20 would cover a month’s attendance at an Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Café.

Sisters Linda Metcalfe, aged 26, and Jodie Wray, aged 32, from Fulham, London, are also getting together with their family to walk for their Nan, Chrystalleni Peratikos, aged 91, who lives with dementia.

Ms Metcalfe said: “Myself, my sister and my mum are all walking again this year in honour of my beloved Nan. She has always been there for us and has always been such a strong woman, since coming over to the UK from Cyprus many years ago to start up a restaurant with my Grandad.

"Dementia can strip away the person you are and my sister and I have found it so difficult because we haven't been able to tell Nan our achievements and we know how proud she'd be. I can only imagine how my mum feels. Our love is still very much there though and will always remain. We will be joining together this autumn at Memory Walk as a family to walk for my Nan and world without dementia.”

Memory Walks are taking place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are being supported by a range of celebrities, including: Vicky McClure, Arlene Phillips, Jamie Anderson and Sally Lindsay.

People of all ages and abilities can sign up to Memory Walk to raise money to support people with dementia and find a cure.

For more information, visit: www.memorywalk.org.uk

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