Footballers across Bedfordshire are among those who can benefit from a new team focused on providing easier access to dementia support.
Alzheimer’s Society has partnered with Bedfordshire FA, to launch a permanent support scheme, offering help and hope for its 21,000 participants, who have either been diagnosed with dementia or caring for a loved one.
Referral pathways have been set up as part of the charity’s national partnership with the FA, in almost half (21) of the counties, where it governs football, in England.
Marc Di Carlo, Senior Football Development Officer at Bedfordshire County Football Association, knows all to well the wider impact dementia can have.
He said: “I’ve experienced my own grandad live with dementia and how the family supported him as the condition progressed.
“So many people are affected by dementia, which is why it is important that we help create a network where our players, coaches, referees and support staff feel supported to seek further advice if concerned.”
The new referral pathway will offer participants of Bedfordshire FA, access to personalised advice and practical and emotional support from Alzheimer’s Society’s frontline specialists, to help them live well with the condition and better prepare for the future. Alzheimer’s Society’s services have been used more than 4.2 million times in the past year, proving to be a lifeline for thousands.
Marc said: “It’s important we can help to spread awareness to all our participants, so they know what help is available and how to access it. We have over 1,400 teams in just under 300 clubs across the county.”
The partnership with Alzheimer’s Society is also raising funds for support services.
Kate Lee, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said:
“Sport should be unforgettable. We want to make sure those who are part of the beautiful game are not sidelined due to their diagnosis and can continue to live fulfilled and meaningful lives by receiving the right support from day one.
“No-one should face a dementia diagnosis alone, nor suffer in silence, which is why we are proud to be working closely with Bedfordshire County FA to embed our services and make sure thousands more have somewhere to turn to during one of the most frightening and toughest times in their lives.”
Alzheimer’s Society will work with The FA to provide research expertise and ensure The FA is prioritising and funding world-class research to best protect players for generations to come. The charity has also directly funded its own research with former football and rugby players, as part of the PREVENT study.
To find out more about Alzheimer’s Society’s partnership with The FA, or donate, visit alzheimers.org.uk/unforgettable-sport
Anyone worried about their memory can download the Alzheimer’s Society symptoms checklist, endorsed by the Royal College of GPs, to support people to get a diagnosis.