Heartache after mum's death inspires Heather to help dementia sufferers

By Michael Upton | 08/01/2018

Heartache after mum's death inspires Heather to help dementia sufferers
Heather Sherratt (second from right) with daughter Paige, mother Patricia and father Haydn.

A DEVOTED daughter has set up a dementia support group in memory of her mother.

Heather Sherratt’s mum Patricia died in 2015 aged 75, after being diagnosed with Lewy body dementia. 

The condition was not picked up until its late stages and Heather said she had been left feeling unsupported and guilt-ridden after her mother’s death.

Now the charity worker has launched a “dementia cafe” support group especially for dementia carers, which she thinks will provide the missing piece in the jigsaw.

Heather, who is a carer support worker with health and social care charity Making Space, said: “I know what it's like to feel on your own when caring for a friend or relative with dementia.

“Practical help and activity sessions are useful, but what dementia carers often need most is a place where they can talk about their loved one’s dementia journey and how it is affecting them.

“Dementia carers can feel burdened with guilt about the quality of care they provide and carry a sense that they can't do right for doing wrong.

“When I was caring for my mum, I used to find myself getting frustrated with how long everything took and how difficult life had become, and then feeling guilty afterwards.”

Heather said carers needed to be able to talk about these difficult emotions and to realise that others are also struggling with conflicting feelings.

She said: “I used to visit the memory team and go to singing groups with my mum but there was nothing we could go to that was about supporting me to be a better carer. 

“I hope these regular get togethers will now fill that gap for many people.”

The monthly sessions are called Helping All Needing Dementia Support (HANDS) and are designed for dementia carers to attend with their loved ones. 

People can take part in optional activities or just talk over tea and biscuits. All of the staff at the centre where the sessions will take place have been trained as Dementia Friends.

HANDS dementia cafe is at Pops Outdoor Adventure Centre, The Bowling Green Pavillion, Rosehill Park, Rawmarsh, on the last Monday of every month from 10am to noon during school term time, with the next session on Monday, January 29.
For more information, call Heather on 01226 288772.

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