Landing the position at Alzheimer’s Support felt like a dream come true. It sounds a bit hyperbolic, right? I can assure you I mean every word. I have wanted to work in media and communications for the best part of two years and being offered this position came with a sudden joyous realisation that my degree had been totally worth it, something not every graduate can legitimately say.

I’ve known of Alzheimer’s Support for a while so when applying I already had a strong grasp of the charity’s operations and who the beneficiaries are. I was focused on my role within the communications department. I was aware of the day clubs, art groups and music sessions but I didn’t foresee having anything to do with this side of the charity, my job is to write things and… no that’s pretty much just it if I’m being truly honest. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I had a few expectations going in and after about twenty minutes everything had been blown out of the water.

It has been almost four weeks since I started work at Alzheimer’s Support and I can honestly say I’m truly shocked at how much I’ve been affected by, not just the work that Support Workers and Carers do, but the response they get from the clients and how much the simplest of things are anything but for the people we support.

So far I’ve been to an art group, two Music for the Mind sessions and two different day clubs. As yet, I’ve not walked out of any of them without a sense of being accepted into a community that I didn’t even know was there. I honestly don’t think I’ve laughed so much at work in the past four weeks. I’ve laughed in hysterics, disbelief, frustration and irony, largely because I have been totally caught off guard by the emotion and positivity that encapsulates the core of the charity’s work. It really transforms your viewpoint and your understanding of the importance of organisations like this one. How quickly you become emotionally invested in the work here is not surprising, yet surprising all at the same time. I expected to care about the work the charity does, in fact, I already considered any organisation tackling dementia in all its forms as ones deserving of my respect. Yet, I didn’t expect to be sitting at home after a long day at work wondering if Pat from the Holt Art Group found her sweeteners for her tea. It seems banal, doesn’t it? To these people it’s everything and you can’t help but buy in emotionally.

I can not foresee the extent to which I now feel emotionally invested in Alzheimer’s Support and the work that the charity does lessening, and,  if anything, I can only foresee it taking hold even further. I’m looking forward to the numerous moments where I’ll inevitably laugh and also those where I’ll inevitably cry. I’m looking forward to telling the stories of our service users through different types of media. I’m looking forward to using new techniques and innovative strategies that work to change the perception of people living with dementia through harnessing the power of the surrounding community.  I’m looking forward to witnessing first-hand the generosity of a county that is known more for its Neolithic structures and military training grounds than it is for its community spirit. But, most of all, I’m looking forward to learning innocuous pieces of information by listening to the stories told by people with more than just a sparkle in their eyes.

Jake Self, Communications and Media Ccordinator