Rotherham Beavers do their bit for dementia awareness

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Rotherham Beaver Scouts have been learning about living with dementia, at an awareness session delivered by health and social care charity Making Space, along with Barnsley Hospital.

43 children from the 9th Rotherham Rawmarsh group, all aged between six and eight, discussed the meaning of dementia, played simple games to illustrate what it might be like to live with the condition, and talked about how they might be able to help people in their own community.

The session was the brainchild of Heather Sherratt, a Barnsley-based carer support worker with Making Space. Heather came up with the idea after noticing an increasing number of younger people living with dementia, and wanted to ensure children who may experience a family member with the condition were educated about the symptoms.

She said: “I’m passionate about children getting to know about dementia because we’re increasingly seeing people of a younger age being diagnosed.

“I’ve worked with people as young as 33 – that was a very rare case - but I’m also seeing people in Rotherham and Barnsley who are being diagnosed in their fifities. These are the parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents of children in the area, and I want to ensure there’s no mystery surrounding the condition.”

During the session, the children discussed what they thought dementia was, and then played simple memory games to highlight some of the symptoms people with the condition experience.

Group leader Paul Harvey said: “I was absolutely amazed; the children knew a lot more about dementia than I thought they would. About 90 per cent of them knew someone with symptoms related to dementia.”