Norwich mother recognised as country’s top dementia carer
- Credit: SENT IN BY RACHEL STEVENSON
She has dedicated years to caring for people with dementia and making people more aware of the condition.
And now Norwich mother-of-one and dementia support worker, Suzanne Warnes, 45, has been recognised as the country's top dementia carer at the 2018 Great British Care Awards.
Ms Warnes said: 'When they called my name my stomach hit the floor. Everything went numb. It was unbelievable.'
The dementia support worker, from Orchard Street, works at the Independence Matters-run Harford Hill Dementia Day Service on Norwich's Ipswich Road.
She won regional Dementia Carer Award last year which meant she was automatically put forward to the national Great British Care Awards.
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Ms Warnes was up against eight other regional winners at the national ceremony in Birmingham and received the main Dementia Carer Award from Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine.
'He said congratulations and well done to me,' Ms Warnes added.
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As well as supporting those with dementia and their families at the day centre, she supports people living with the condition in their homes.
Ms Warnes is also a Dementia Friends champion which involves training individuals and organisations in supporting people with dementia.
The support worker, who has a 16-year-old son, said: 'The best thing about my job is making people smile. The most challenging part is tackling the stigma of dementia.'
She uses a 'holistic approach' when caring for people.
As well as providing a listening ear, she helps people create memory boxes, take part in activities they used to enjoy, organises days out and shopping trips, and puts on a support group for dementia carers.
Ms Warnes also mentors fellow care workers, students, people on Jobseeker's Allowance and the general public in dementia awareness and support.
'It allows people who are on that journey of dementia to live their lives. They need to be part of society.'
Ms Warnes, a former seamstress for 10 years, has gained several qualifications in health and social care since joining the profession 12 years ago.
She added: 'I left school at 16 with no qualifications. I would say to anyone with a dream, 'Go for it.''