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In our latest edition of the Alzheimer Scotland Annual Conference blog, we hear from husband and wife Dave and Audrey Roper, both former carers who have both previously attended our annual conference: 

Audrey Roper has lived with her husband, Dave Roper, for the past 40 years in Helensburgh. “Our first experience of dementia was when sister, Joan, was diagnosed. With the help of my husband, David, we cared for her until she was admitted to a care home in Fife. It was around this time that we first came into contact with Alzheimer Scotland, as they opened their Dementia Resource Centre nearby in Helensburgh. We received a great support from all the staff there, and still do, so we both became Alzheimer Scotland volunteers.

“I wanted to attend the Alzheimer Scotland Annual Conference to find out more about dementia in general, and about what support might be available for people like ourselves who had been living with a family member with dementia. I also wanted to find out more about dementia treatment.

“What struck me the most about the annual conference was how welcoming it was, especially the tea and coffee on arrival. From the beginning there was a lot of information to take advantage through the stands in the foyer.

“The speakers during the day were excellent – I was pleasantly surprised to hear about the amount of work Alzheimer Scotland are doing across so many areas, especially in bringing the needs of people living with dementia and their carers to the attention of the Scottish Government. I left feeling reassured and encouraged about my journey as a carer and now as a volunteer.

“The real highlight for me for me, however, were the workshops. They allowed us to break into smaller groups to find out more about the projects and support available. The one that comes to mind for me was the one surrounding the Dementia Dog project. I was amazing with what they can do as therapy dogs regarding assisting people with dementia.”

David added, “Becoming volunteers with Alzheimer Scotland was our way of giving something back and as our way of saying ‘thank you’ for the support we received from our local dementia group.

“As volunteers and former carers, we wanted to find out more about the work Alzheimer Scotland does and to see the bigger picture. Last year was our first time coming along and it was a real eye opener: from the information stands in the foyer, to the informative general presentations, and group sessions. During the day, we heard so many diverse experiences and approaches to dementia and support.

“While I was always looking forward to the annual conference, our first event was better than we ever expected, almost a pleasant surprise. It really opened our eyes to the scope and experience of Alzheimer Scotland as a charity and was beyond our expectations.

“Throughout the day, we were really made to feel useful in doing our bit towards the aim of making sure people living with dementia know that they are not alone. It was reassuring and uplifting as a former carer and current volunteer, to feel part of a group of like-minded people from all walks of life, sharing practical solutions towards helping people living with dementia.

What I really appreciated about the annual conference was that speakers and workshops made a point of acknowledging people who go the extra mile, as well deliberately not shying away from important topics like advancing dementia care and research.

Alzheimer Scotland would like to thank Dave and Audrey Roper for sharing their experiences from our annual conference. Find out more about the Alzheimer Scotland Annual Conference 2019 programme here.

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