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New dementia group in Attleborough

PUBLISHED: 12:10 23 July 2010 | UPDATED: 20:24 01 August 2010

A family carer is hoping to lend a voice to those who care for people with dementia by setting up his own support group.

John Peachey, 71, from Attleborough, has been the sole carer for his wife Carol, 68, since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2004.

A family carer is hoping to lend a voice to those who care for people with dementia by setting up his own support group.

John Peachey, 71, from Attleborough, has been the sole carer for his wife Carol, 68, since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2004.

He wants to share his advice and experiences with others in similar situations, and hopes together they will be able to express their opinions more forthrightly on the current help provided for family carers.

“I see the gaps in the service viewed from the inside - the carer's side. But when the professionals look from the outside they do not seem to see the same as myself,” he said.

“I ask myself if it is just me and I answer no. If I were part of a group making the same points I feel that this could make a difference and enable the hard learned lessons to benefit those about to embark on the same difficult task.”

Mr Peachey said he has developed some practical tips and coping mechanisms he wishes he had been told when he first became a full-time carer.

The former engineer said it is simple advice, such as how to help a person with dementia remain independent for as long as possible, which he regrets not being told.

“The most important thing I learned was to use it or lose it. Once you get dementia, if you lose it you lose it,” he said.

“I would see my wife struggling with something and naturally I wanted to help her. I did not stand back. If I was aware of this I would have got her to do more things.”

Mr Peachey also wants to use his group to lobby for changes, including making information concerning the types of care and their costs more easily available, and lobbying for more sheltered housing accommodation which allows a person with dementia to live with their spouse.

The couple, who celebrate their golden wedding anniversary this year, moved to Attleborough in 2006. Mr Peachey has managed to care for his wife over the years, despite having to use a wheelchair himself due to Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia.

“You love somebody and you look after them. In sickness and in health. There's not a sub-clause about dementia parting us,” he said.

Anyone interested in joining the group can call John Peachey on 01953 457573 or email john.peachey38@tiscali.co.uk


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