GEORGE Rook was the guest speaker at a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Oswestry when he gave a compelling talk about his journey with dementia from first noticing problems, pressing to receive a diagnosis, pursuing treatment options, finding out about patient groups and now living with dementia ‘as well as he can’.

As Chair and member of a large number of groups including the Shropshire Telford & Wrekin Dementia Action Alliance, LEAP (the Lived Experience Advisory Panel) for Dementia UK and the Shropshire and Telford Health Economy Steering Group, George makes every effort to improve the landscape of those living with dementia in the UK and in particular Shropshire his home since he settled in the county over 35 years ago.

Passionate about putting patients at the heart of everything the NHS does, George strives to influence change at both local and national levels. His latest local project has risen out of the embryonic Oswestry and District Dementia Action Alliance (O&D DAA).

“We will be calling ourselves Dementia Friendly Oswestry and District. We have a steering group chaired by former Oswestry Town Mayor Paul Milner, and we want more people to join us and work with us.” George said. “Our next steering group meeting is this Friday 27th July at 2:00pm in the Guildhall Oswestry and all are welcome.”

Liz Evans of Oswestry group Trailblazers, part of the Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project (DEEP) and founder member of O&D DAA, also a guest at the meeting, underlined the aim of this new group: “My heart is to try and get as many businesses, groups and other people as possible to become dementia friendly. It takes just an hour to receive Dementia Friends training. I would encourage everyone to do it.”

George concluded by inviting all Rotarians to come long to the launch of the new group in early autumn when local people will be able to find out what they can do to help Oswestry become more dementia friendly: “Look out for the launch nearer the time and come along and see how businesses, schools, shops and banks can be made safer and easier to use for people with dementia.

“People affected by dementia want to be able to live well for as long as possible in their community, having the same opportunities as everyone else. All it takes sometimes are simple changes and for people to show a little patience and understanding. Do come along and see how you can help?”

Pictured: Oswestry Rotary President Ian Glenister and George Rook