Educator & Mental Health Advocate
Until my diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease led to my retirement aged 55 I had as a primary school headteacher/principal championed the arts in my school which was awarded the label of Gold Artsmark by the Arts Council. Since then I have advocated for more opportunities for people with dementia to access the arts as an Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador and Kent Dementia Envoy for the NHS. I am convinced that projects I have accessed or co-led such as music making, photography, craft and drawing, writing poetry/short stories/memoir/film script, drama, circle dancing have all had a positive impact on my well being, and have helped proved the consultant psychiatrist wrong who 10 years ago predicted when I was diagnosed that I had 3 – 6 years of independent life left. With support, often on an inter-generational basis I look forward to many more arts projects in future, not just for me for everyone with dementia at whatever stage along the pathway we are.