A caring son-turned-carer is bidding to cement his mother’s legacy by turning a Leeds suburb into the city’s first ‘dementia friendly’ area.
After losing his mother Phyllis to pneumonia following her battle with dementia in 2004, Peter Smith pledged to raise awareness of the condition.
The 65-year-old, who worked for the Alzheimer’s Society as a support worker following Phyllis’ death, aims to run a series of open days where businesses and residents can meet dementia patients and gain an understanding of the condition.
Last week Peter celebrated a year of running his monthly community dementia cafe, Tea Cosy, which takes place at Rothwell Parish Centre on the first Saturday of every month.
Peter, who lives in Rothwell, said: “It is my mother’s legacy, it’s her’s and it’s for the fellows that I have taken out as well.
“Around 25 years ago when people spoke about cancer they whispered the word and people still do that with dementia and whenever it is kept under wraps like that people wont acknowledge how important it’s going to be.”
Peter’s mother was living at a Dewsbury care home, where she fell and fractured her leg but after a routine operation at Dewsbury Hospital she was discharged and died soon after.
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust eventually apologised, stating that Phyllis was discharged too early.
Ever since Peter has devoted himself to raising awareness and he is now looking at setting up a series of community awareness events next year.
In March Leeds City Council committed to becoming dementia friendly by mid 2013.
Diagnosed with dementia two years ago, Norman Postill, from Bramley, at 57 is one of the younger people with the condition, which leads to memory and communication issues.
Norman, who has been arrested for acting suspiciously in a supermarket while confused in recent years, said: “It would be a good idea to have that awareness here, people should be more aware of people like us.”
There are expected to be 1million people with a form of dementia in the UK by 2021. Call 07845935233 to get involved.