Alzheimer’s Society has partnered with Durham County Football Association to offer help and hope to anyone who has been diagnosed with dementia or is caring for a loved one in the county. As part of the charity’s national partnership with the FA, support schemes have been launched in 20 County FAs where football is governed and developed locally.
The new referral pathways into Alzheimer’s Society services make it easier and quicker for players, coaches, referees, and support staff in the region to access support or guidance needed when concerns arise about themselves or a loved one.
Durham County FA covers South Tyneside, Sunderland, Gateshead, Stockton, Hartlepool and Darlington, in addition to County Durham itself.
Participants will benefit from practical and emotional support from Alzheimer’s Society frontline specialists, helping them live well with dementia while preparing better for the future. Alzheimer’s Society services have been used more than 4.2 million times in the past year across the UK, proving to be a lifeline for thousands.
Durham County FA’s Football Development Officer, Daniel McElhone, said:
“The partnership with Alzheimer’s Society will enable us to better support our employees, participants and volunteers when concerns are raised. Anyone involved with football across the county can be referred towards Alzheimer’s Society for memory assessments, further support and guidance.
“The County FA is involved in many formats of the game, including Walking Football for Over 50s and Over 60s. We also have lots of participants who just play with friends. It’s not uncommon for people of this generation to be reluctant to visit their GP, so we can act as a bridge.
“Our team secretaries can support referrals to organisations like Alzheimer’s Society if, for example, someone raises concerns about problems with their memory. We’re in a privileged position as we have access to people who don’t always engage with health care, so we can be that vehicle for them.”
Sport should be unforgettable
Chief Executive Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, Kate Lee, 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 Durham 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.”
The partnership with Alzheimer’s Society is also raising funds for support services. 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.
You can find out more about Alzheimer’s Society’s partnership with The FA, or donate here.
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.