Today sees the launch of Big Lottery Fund (BIG) Scotland’s £50 million Life Changes Trust which aims to transform the lives of young people leaving care and the lives of people with dementia and their carers in Scotland.
The creation of Life Changes Trust is the largest single investment from BIG in Scotland and has been made to bring about a step change in the way young people leaving care and people with dementia and their carers access support and services in Scotland in the future.
There are currently 86,000 people with dementia – a figure forecast to double in the next 25 years. The £50 million will be split evenly between the two beneficiary groups and the funding will help people with dementia like Henry Rankin.
Henry is 59 years old – a retired policeman and married with three children. He’s a keen bowler but believes some might say not a very good one. He has vascular dementia but it does not define him. His actions, hopes and dreams define him. His family sat in a waiting room when Henry was given his diagnosis. He wasn’t told what vascular dementia was but was assured there was no cure.
At the time he was suffering from memory loss and was confused. More so than in many other conditions he needed someone to be there with him. He needed information in a way that he could take in but was offered nothing. Henry left the doctor believing he would be dead in six months. In an instant, Henry’s life changed and he was left feeling isolated and abandoned by the medical profession.
Henry found out about vascular dementia through the internet. He went from being a sociable, confident individual to someone who didn’t want to get up in the morning. His wife put him in contact with Alzheimer Scotland and there he met people who were in the same position as him. Through those people he faced up to his vascular dementia and looked forward again to his future. He learned to laugh again and be himself again.
So yes, Henry has dementia but more importantly he is Henry Rankin, a retired policeman who’s married with three children. And his hopes and dreams for the future are that one day he’s going to win the singles championship at his bowling club – he may not be the best bowler but nothing will stop him trying.