Walk in support of dementia nurses for Norfolk

A gentle stroll along Great Yarmouth's seafront has helped highlight the need for specialist nurses to help the families of dementia sufferers.

The Forget Me Not Walk saw 16 people set off on Saturday from the town's Nelson's Monument to the Britannia Pier to raise the awareness of Admiral Nurses.

Admiral Nurses are due to be introduced in Norfolk to provide vital help to families who care for loved ones suffering from forms of dementia.

Discussions are under way between Dementia UK and NHS commissioning bodies on Norfolk to jointly fund the nurses, who are similar to Macmillan cancer support nurses.

To help drum up support for the extension of the nurses into Norfolk, Annie Cook, from St Albans Road, Norwich, organised Saturday's walk.

Mrs Cook is a staunch supporter for the creation of Norfolk Admiral Nurses as a close relative in Yarmouth has dementia and needs constant care.

The 50-year-old hoped the walk would focus people's minds on the need for more support for families of dementia sufferers as there are 4,000 people in Norfolk with dementia with another estimated 10,000 sufferers who have yet to be diagnosed.

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In the next 15 years the number of people with dementia could increase by 62pc.

Mrs Cook was joined on the seaside stroll husband Martin and children Joe, Sophie and Lulu.

She said: 'Dementia is a ticking time bomb in Norfolk that is waiting to go off and it affects thousands of families.

'With number of people affected set to increase, there is still very little awareness about what Admiral Nurses can offer in terms of support to sufferers, families and carers.

'They get involved at a very early stage and provide valuable support.'

The Cooks were joined by family, friends and Marley the cocker spaniel on the walk. They all wore specially designed Norfolk Admirals Forget Me Not T-shirts.

There are about 85 Admiral Nurses in the UK and Dementia UK is now focusing on bringing the nurses to the county. The new posts should be match funded by the NHS.

Barbara Stephens, chief executive of Dementia UK, said: 'Annie has been very committed to helping to bring Admiral Nurses to Norfolk.

'Admiral Nurses are in place very early with families of dementia sufferers.

'They help families and carers prepare for what is going to happen and put in support gradually over time.

'A lot of families find it quite stressful and the nurses can help resolve issues.'

Mrs Cook has organised another Forget Me Mot Walk on Sunday, September 11 at Whitlingham Country Park, near Norwich.

She has also set up a website for people who want to make donations to fund Admiral Nurses in Norfolk. To make a donation visit www.virgingiving.com/team/norfolkadmirals

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