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Memory walk to support dementia services

Alzheimer’s Society is calling on everyone to don their walking gear and take part in Memory Walk 2021 to unite against dementia. People can join one of 19 organised walks taking place across the UK, or they can organise their own with friends and family at a location of their choice.

This comes after new data from Alzheimer’s Society has revealed that 44% of the nation’s pet owners would prefer to take a walk with their four-legged friends over their partner.

Of this figure, 13% did not have a walkable pet but said they would still rather walk with their pet over their partner.

The survey, funded by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery also revealed, that of pet owners, women are 10% more likely to pick their pet compared to men, and around half of animal-loving 16–24-year-olds would also pick their pet over their partner, compared to just 30% of 55-73-year olds.

Covid has hit people with dementia the hardest, accounting for over a quarter of all deaths in the UK. Prolonged isolation, social care service reductions and a loss of routine and social interaction have led to shocking levels of decline in thousands of people with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Society’s support services, like its Dementia Connect support line, have been used over five and a half million times since lockdown began in March 2020.

The new data also uncovers British people’s favourite place to walk. Almost half of respondents said the beach or seafront is their favourite go-to place for a stroll, followed by woods or forests.

The joys of promenading along a beach seem to come with age, as almost 60% (59%) of over-55s picked this route as their favourite – twice that of 16–24-year-olds; the majority of whom preferred a woodland walk. Around 60% of respondents said that their daily walk during Covid lockdowns helped to improve their mental health.

The data also found that, on average, the most popular time Brits like to go for a walk is 12:40pm, with early-bird Traditionalists (over 75s) getting out the earliest at around 11:11am, and millennials (24–42-year-olds) going out nearly two hours later at 1:17pm.

Alzheimer’s Society is asking people to put their best foot forward and raise what they can to support the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. Sign up for free at memorywalk.org.uk.

shallow focus photography of person walking on road between grass

Care home worker Tracie Mundy’s mum Kathleen was diagnosed with mixed dementia in January said: ‘On the day Mum received her dementia diagnosis, I caught coronavirus from an outbreak at the care home where I work.

‘It was a double blow, not only were we shocked to discover that mum had dementia – I also couldn’t be there to comfort and be with her like she so desperately needed.

‘The pandemic has been horrendous for families like ours, and I can only sympathise with people facing the same situation up and down the country. I really enjoy doing Memory Walks for Alzheimer’s Society to help support people who may not know who to turn to after having their lives changed so much by this cruel condition. The help I received was invaluable and I would urge people to sign up and take part.’

Kate Lee, CEO at Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘It’s amusing but not at all surprising to hear that, as a nation of animal lovers, we would much rather go for a walk with our pets than our partners!

‘This last year has been devastating for people with dementia, their carers and their families. Many sadly passed away, and many more have got so much worse, while isolated from those they love and unable to continue their usual daily activities and routines.

‘We are so thankful to everyone for lacing up their walking shoes and taking on a Memory Walk – with or without their beloved pets – because every penny raised can make a huge difference to the lives of people with dementia in the aftermath of Covid.

‘Since March 2020, Alzheimer’s Society’s services, including our Dementia Connect support line, have been used over five and a half million times, offering a lifeline to those affected by dementia, showing our services are needed now more than ever.’

Alzheimer’s Society is urging everybody to sign up for free to take part in a Memory Walk this Autumn. Visit memorywalk.org.uk to find out more about organising your own Memory Walk, or how to take part in one of Alzheimer’s Society’s organised events.

Photo Credit – Arek Adeoye

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