Meet Helen Foster, Director of Operations at Alzheimer’s Society.
Why dementia, why the Society?
I’m not good when things aren’t fair, I have to push back.
Going back 30 years, I could see that how we treated people with dementia was not fair.
On top of that, my grandma developed vascular dementia in the 1990s – there wasn’t the internet or our helpline, and we really struggled as a family.
How to fill an unexpected day off?
I could probably name 150 things! There’d be quite a bit of dog-walking in there, and countryside.
I do a lot of knitting with Woolly Hugs – a charity that makes up blankets for homeless people – but I like to be outdoors.
Seeing Dementia Connect come to fruition. I can remember the day we launched the first early adopter site in East Lancashire, it’s absolutely engraved on my brain.
Worst advice you’ve been given?
‘You’ll never amount to anything unless you go and get a degree straight from school.’
I decided not to at the last minute, I went to travel instead and I’ve never regretted that – I’ve done two degrees since then!
Biggest priority for coming months?
How we can revert to face-to-face services safely – that is a massive head-rattler.
We’ve had over 300 of our service users die with the virus, and it is a burden to make that decision, but it’s my job.
Most important thing learned from a person with dementia?
I remember a lady, May, a long time ago, who was living alone and it was just her whole approach. I won’t say looking on the bright side, because there aren’t many with dementia, but she had this serenity about her. It was incredibly inspiring.
Most looking forward to?
To West Brom being in the Premiership, though my husband’s a Liverpool fan and it’s never a good day when we play each other!
On a more serious note, I’m looking forward to getting some kind of normality back in our services.
We need your help
We can’t keep our phone lines open or manage the increase in demand for our services without urgent financial support. Please donate today – with your help, we can show people living with dementia that they aren’t alone.