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Author: Age Scotland
Published on 11 November 2011 10:30 AM

Tommy Whitelaw yesterday completed his marathon tour of Scotland to raise awareness of dementia and the needs of dementia carers.  On reaching the Scottish Parliament Tommy, accompanied by a group of fellow carers, personally delivered letters collected en route from dementia carers to Nicola Sturgeon MSP, The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing.

Tommy’s Tour began in January 2011 and was inspired by his own experience of caring for his mother, who has vascular dementia.  During the tour he has spoken to hundreds of carers and received letters and emails from all over Scotland. These paint a picture of many carers who want to care for their loved one at home but struggle to receive appropriate support, are dismayed by standards of care (particularly in hospitals) and are left alone to puzzle their way through a maze of legal and financial issues. Some are close to breaking point.

Tommy said: “Tommy on Tour started from loneliness, isolation and the constant struggle to get the correct care and advice for my mum, who has vascular dementia. In some ways, it might have been better had it just been me who was facing those struggles. The sad truth is that most of carers I have met over the last 9 months have faced (and continue to face) similar or greater problems than myself. I hope, with the help and continued support of Alzheimer Scotland, that we can address the issues raised by Tommy on Tour and create a better experience for all families caring for a loved one with dementia in Scotland today.”

Ms Sturgeon said: “I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to Tommy and Alzheimer Scotland for a very moving and powerful presentation on the need to improve dementia care.”

Age Scotland spokesperson Doug Anthoney said: “Tommy’s dedication to raising awareness of dementia, and the challenges faced by those caring for someone with dementia, is inspirational.  We congratulate him wholeheartedly on his achievement.”

For more information: Call the Age Scotland helpline: 0800 12 44 222