Mary Rimmer, a senior associate solicitor at South East law firm Brachers, has reached a milestone by successfully helping 1,000 people in the region to become ‘dementia friends’.
The scheme, which is run by the Alzheimer’s Society, relies on people to put themselves forward and be trained to become Dementia Friends Champions, of which there are 10,000 volunteers nation-wide. It’s the role of these champions to go into their local community and inspire others to help those with dementia live better lives.
Mary, who heads the firm’s elderly and vulnerable team, became a champion last year and has visited local schools and businesses to share her expertise and knowledge about dementia and the challenges for those living with the condition. On top of that, she has also helped 75% of staff at Brachers to become dementia friends and the firm was recognised last year as working towards being dementia friendly.
“Contrary to popular belief, Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of the elderly but also affects younger people. There are more than 100 types of dementia and each person experiences dementia in their own unique way.
“Astonishingly, Alzheimer’s Disease International estimates that someone in the world is diagnosed with dementia every three seconds. In 2017, 50 million people were said to be living with dementia. As more people are affected, I have made it my priority to better aid those affected and give people the knowledge to help someone living with dementia. I believe that by making those with dementia feel included in conversations and better understood, the stigma can be reduced.”
Mary was recognised for her efforts late last year when she was a finalist at the Dementia Friendly Kent awards for the ‘Emma Kent Award for Outstanding Contribution’, while Brachers was a finalist in the ‘Dementia Friendly Organisation/ Company (More than 50 staff)’ category.
As well as her work with the Alzheimer’s Society, Mary is an active member of both Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells dementia friendly community forums, is a trustee of charities Maidstone Mencap and Spadework, and a full professional member of STEP and Solicitors for the Elderly.