I’m helping Alzheimer’s Research UK from home, and you can too.

I’m the events manager at Mattioli Woods and we’ve been supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK since 2019. Over the past year, I’ve been so impressed by the huge fundraising efforts I’ve seen take place across all 11 of our branches. But with social fundraising no longer an option, my new working from home environment meant that I had to find a different way to help, and that was to learn more about dementia.

A few weeks ago, Alzheimer’s Research UK invited me to use this time to learn more about dementia. Keen to develop a better understanding of the condition that affects nearly one million people in the UK, I thought, ‘what better time to learn something new, than now?’

I was once a carer for someone who had vascular dementia, and since Mattioli Woods partnered with Alzheimer’s Research UK, I’ve heard other team members speak up about their personal experiences. So, like many of my colleagues, I‘ve seen first-hand the impact that dementia has on a person and everyone involved in their life. I’ve been wanting to get a better understanding for quite some time now, and our partnership provided the perfect opportunity to finally get the answers to some of the questions I had.

Before the course, I used to associate dementia with the older generation, and I didn’t appreciate how it can be experienced by those as young as in their thirties in some rare cases. The course explains that dementia isn’t just a natural part of ageing and that simple lifestyle adjustments can reduce our risk of developing symptoms.

Not only did I achieve a better understanding of the diseases that cause dementia and how to reduce my own risk, but the course taught me how to talk about it. I now feel confident enough to know how to start a conversation with staff, friends or family who may be struggling with dementia or the impacts of it. Something I didn’t expect to learn from the course was how to react if I were to develop symptoms myself. The Many Faces of Dementia course has helped me to feel informed about some of the challenges that I could face in my own life and how I’d like to prepare if this should happen.

The course itself is very well presented and well rounded, covering four less common diagnoses of dementia, the people involved and the implications of these. I followed the course at my own pace and found watching lecturers, researchers and personal experiences made complex information easy to digest. My favourite part of the course was the ability to bounce off other people’s comments on each section, bringing a community of people together to share their own experiences with dementia.

What’s great about Mattioli Woods and Alzheimer’s Research UK’s partnership is our commitment to the cause. As an events manager, I’ve found our fundraising efforts to be incredibly inspiring, creative and fun. But I now realise just how important it is that we educate ourselves about dementia, and I feel our fundraising efforts will only get stronger as we learn more about how important it is to find life-changing treatments. I’d encourage others to find out more about dementia. There are lots of ways to do this, including:

By building our understanding of dementia, we’ll be helping to put an end to the heartbreak it causes by spreading awareness and inspiring others to raise vital funds.

About the author

Jo Spain

Jo Spain, an Events Manager at Mattioli Woods, which is one of Alzheimer's Research UK's Corporate Partners.