A DEMENTIA campaigner has helped set up a worldwide helpline for newly diagnosed patients to get advice from others who live with the disease.
Norman McNamara and 23 other people from around the globe have set up Dementia Mentors, a website designed to allow anyone who has been diagnosed to apply to speak to someone else who also has the illness for support and guidance.
Mr McNamara, who grew up in Astley Bridge, was diagnosed with dementia six years ago and has described the new venture as “life changing”.
He said: “People normally get help from doctors and dementia charities, which is fine of course — but with this they are getting advice from people who also have the disease.
“I spoke to my first person. He was from Canada and said he felt relieved that someone else out there that knew how he felt. I really wish this had been available when I was diagnosed.
“I want to help people through the awful time when the shock hits and they don’t know what’s going to happen. All the fear and emotions that they go through — all of which I went through.
“This will really change the goal posts and smash the misconceptions relating to dementia. This is life changing.”
Mr McNamara, who moved to Devon 15 years ago where he founded the Torbay Dementia Action Alliance, uses Zoom to speak to people online who need help, meaning that anyone in the world can sign up.
He said: “There are a few of us from all around the world that get together once a month to chat online.
“The idea came from us all brainstorming about how we can help those who have the disease, especially those newly diagnosed.
“All you have to do is fill in the form on the website and one of us will get in touch. It is free but we do rely on donations to keep us going.
“It is at the early stage that people need the most help and advice because when you read about dementia in the papers it’s all negative — but we want to spread the word that you can live with it.”
To find out more, visit dementiamentors.com.