EDUCATING ADULTS ABOUT RAISING CHILDREN’S AWARENESS OF DEMENTIA

Recently I was asked to be the guest speaker at Grangemouth Rotary Club, speaking to members and their partners at their Christmas Lunch. I was deeply touched by their kind words published in my local newspaper, The Falkirk Herald :  “Irene Mackay, author of “The Forgetful Elephant”, captivated members of the Rotary Club of Grangemouth and their partners when she was the speaker at the partners’ lunch last week. Dealing with an emotive issue Irene, a most accomplished speaker, spoke of raising children’s awareness of dementia in a most sensible and informative manner and well merited the appreciation accorded her on the call of Stewart Comrie.”.

Their uplifting words about my talk reassured me that it is just as important for me to speak to adults about dementia,  as well as children. Whilst the majority of my work is visiting Primary Schools and Children’s Organisations to read my book to young children, I find that it is also necessary to talk to the older generation about this ever-increasing condition. It is surprising how many adults today are still unaware of what dementia means both for the person who is diagnosed with the condition, and for their carers.

When I talk to adults about dementia my aim is not only to give them a better understanding about the condition, but also to help them realise just how important it is for children to be aware of dementia too, even at a very young age. Often adults are afraid to talk about dementia, especially to younger children. After hearing me talk about my work raising children’s awareness, they soon realise that by educating children, even at a very young age, they can actually help the person with dementia, and the caregiver, in many ways.

I am driven to give these talks to emphasise to as many people as I can how important communication is in life. If we don’t communicate, how do we learn? Learning results in understanding. Once a person knows the reason why something is happening, it raises their confidence and reduces the associated stigma. Once I have explained, understanding dementia means that the adults attending my talk now know that there is a reason why someone who has dementia behaves the way they do. That will enable them to cope with the situation, and be more patient with the person with dementia.

My aim for the future is for everyone to be aware of and to understand dementia, both adults and children. This can lead to an easier life both for the person with dementia, their carers and their family.

I’m taking bookings now for talks in 2015. Please contact me on info(at)renemackay.com to make arrangments.

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