Dementia friendly Debenham

136. Lynden Jackson (Debenham)

Lynden Jackson has dedicated the last five years to helping thousands of people living with dementia in Suffolk.

Lynden has transformed Debenham and surrounding areas into a leading Dementia Friendly Community, a place which helps people with dementia have a better quality of life. For the people living with the condition in the area this means being able to locally access services, receive vital support and stay at home with their family and loved ones for much longer.

The Debenham project began five years ago, when Lynden called a local meeting to seek practical ways to help people in his local community living with the impact of dementia on their lives. He expected just a handful of people to turn up and was overwhelmed when over 70 people attended offering support. Today, the Debenham project has 100 volunteers and has reached 65 per cent of the families within the community who are living with dementia.

Lynden works tirelessly, developing a range of support services for people with dementia and their family carers. These range from an ‘on-call’ support service where trained staff can offer emergency care, lunch clubs, activities and social sessions, to a ‘fit club’ – all helping to keep people in better physical and mental health. Lynden uses his experiences caring for his late mother who had dementia to help support others. Thanks to Lynden and the goodwill of the community, support to people with dementia costs as little as £1 per person.

Lynden is a Dementia Friend and is leading the project’s latest local campaign, “Dementia – Be Aware – Be Positive”, seeking to show that it is possible to live well with dementia and help to break down the stigma surrounding the condition. The work of The Debenham Project has been recognised for its unique and innovative approach throughout Suffolk, and also at regional and national levels.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“When I began the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia four years ago it was people like Lynden I had in mind – dedicated people in the community who are helping us make life better for people with dementia across the UK. Thanks to Lynden, over 6,500 people in Suffolk now have increased support and feel less alone. This can help people stay connected to the community and give them precious time with their children and grandchildren. Lynden is a very deserving Point of Light.”

Lynden said:

“Dementia is an illness that affects so many of our husbands, wives, parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbours that we cannot stand aside and hope that the nation will look after them. Eventually, medical research will come up with better treatments and perhaps even a cure but until then, families and friends will have to shoulder the burden. A helping hand, someone who is there for you, and well-designed local support services can make a huge difference.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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