To mark Dementia Action Week, local people living with dementia have gathered at Bradford City Football Club to join a celebration event and share their sporting memories.
Professor Claire Surr, who leads Leeds Beckett University’s Centre for Dementia Research in the School of Health and Community Studies, said: ‘There is growing evidence of the benefits of exercise, physical activity, and social participation for living well in later life. Our partnership with the Sporting Memories Network offers some exciting opportunities for both organisations to work together more closely to support positive lives for people living with dementia.’
Dr Alys Griffiths, Research Fellow at Leeds Beckett University added: ‘It’s about meeting new people, getting to do sports they wouldn’t normally get to do in their own homes and maybe having the opportunity to talk about memories that they’ve had with people who can then share their memories back.
‘I think it’s really important because I think it’s a way of getting people together and getting that social support that people sometimes lack. It gets them to meet new people and build friendships.’
Alex Barron attended the event with his grandparents. His Grandad Raymond Chadwick has dementia and Alex said the event was a great opportunity for both his grandparents: ‘My nan and grandad go to these events quite a lot as a support network. I can see how useful it is for them. My grandad is a really sociable guy but with his illness he doesn’t really have the opportunity to get out and see people very much outside of his family group, so places like this are where he gets a lot out of it in terms of just been able to converse with people that he doesn’t usually. For my nan, it’s just nice for her to be with him and relaxed and to meet people who are kind of going through the same thing.’
The Sporting Memories Foundation charity supports older people across the UK living with dementia, depression, and loneliness by engaging them in social activities and helping them to recall memories of watching or playing sport. By sharing memories of sporting moments and tapping into a passion for sport the charity helps people connect with others and their past, reawakening positive thoughts and feelings that otherwise remain hidden away.