A SOLIHULL woman is taking action against dementia by leading a daring challenge in Snowdonia – with her grandmother’s experiences fuelling her.
Naomi Fiddes-Baron is set to undertake an eight-hour walking, cycling and kayaking mission in Snowdonia National Park in Wales with her work colleagues.
The team will cover 35.5km in total to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Society.
Her team hope to raise around £4,500 for the dementia charity and have raised over £3,000 so far.
The 31-year-old has seen first-hand the difficulties and devastation dementia can cause.
She grew up in Solihull where her grandmother Ellen – who suffered from the disease – lived with the family.
Ellen developed Alzheimer’s disease and was formally diagnosed when she was 72.
She lived with the disease for seven years and experienced a gradual progression with the illness which largely affected her short-term memory at first and then later affected her ability to interact with the world around her.
Naomi said: “At the end stages of her life, my mum and dad just couldn’t cope with the constant physical demands of supporting Nanny. She went in to a care home for just under a year, but the standard of care was not consistently acceptable.
“When she went in to the home, there were times she seemed distressed by her condition, and times she seemed quite content.
“She still recognised the family but looked like she knew something was wasn’t quite right.”
Ellen died at the age of 79 after breaking her arm after falling out of bed which significantly weakened her.
Naomi added: “My nanny was an incredibly particular and a very ordered person.
“Perhaps the most devastating thing was to see the way her life slowly and unrelentingly unravelled around her.
“I would like to see better standards in nursing homes as they seem to range incredibly in terms of cost and care.
“It would be good to see more specific services for people living with dementia.
“It would be nice if people’s attitudes changed and they saw that there can still be a quality of life and humour in relation to dementia.”
There are currently 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and the NHS estimates there are 12,689 people over-65 with dementia in Birmingham and Solihull.
Naomi concluded: “There are a lot of charities where you think ‘what is this going to do?’.
“But with Alzheimer’s Society and dementia there is that potential for a cure and it is feasible.”
The challenge takes place on Saturday, August 4. To donate to Naomi and her Enable colleagues, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/enablesnowdon.