Families urged to join Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walks to encourage spending quality time together

Alzheimer’s Society is urging families across the country to spend time together tackling the biggest health issue of our time, by joining your local Memory Walk to raise money for a world without dementia – as it’s revealed families spend dwindling time together.

The number of people with dementia is set to rise to over one million by 2021. Credit: Holyrood stock images.

New Alzheimer’s Society research launched Memory Walk yesterday, revealing that almost half (41 per cent) of British families only spend up to five hours a week of ‘quality time’ together, with (13 per cent) of families spending just one hour or less a week together.

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The leading dementia charity is asking people to make that time count and join a Memory Walk in partnership with HSBC.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Modern life is having a huge impact on the time families spend together. Memory Walk is a great opportunity for all generations of every family to turn the tide and come together to walk for a world without dementia.

“We already know that what’s good for the heart is good for the head, and regular exercise is one of the best ways to help reduce your risk of developing dementia – all while enjoying a great day out in the fresh air with those you care about. The money you raise for Alzheimer’s Society will better support those living with dementia and help to find a cure.  Every person, every pound, every step will bring us closer.”

Nearly half of parents (43 per cent) surveyed said that they did not feel they spent enough quality time with their immediate families, citing ‘modern life’ difficulties, including difficulty scheduling time when everyone is free (33 per cent), watching TV separately (14 per cent), using social media (10 per cent) and working long hours (16 per cent).

Encouragingly, over half (55 per cent) of parents said they do enjoy taking part in exercise and outdoor activities, such as long walks and sports, with their families. 

Considerable research shows that taking regular exercise can help reduce the risk of getting dementia, and there is also evidence to show that exercising outside in a rural environment or green spaces is also highly beneficial for people’s mental health and overall wellbeing.

However, one in three (32 per cent) of people said they do not they take part in exercise (long walk or group sport) often enough with their family, while one in five (19 per cent) said they do not even manage a family walk once a year.

Our survey findings backed this up, with more than half of people saying they prefer exercising in a green, outdoors environment than pounding the treadmill. 

This September and October, Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging people across the England, Wales and Northern Ireland to rally around family of all ages – from grandparents to grandchildren – and take part in Memory Walk, which is being held in association with HSBC.

Taking part in Memory Walk will not only help reverse the trend of families spending little time together, but can boost your mood and help reduce your chance of dementia, all while walking to raise money for a world without dementia.

In the UK, 850,000 people have dementia. This is set to rise to over one million by 2021 and we will all know someone who has or will be affected by the condition.

Whether you are walking in memory of a loved one, to celebrate someone you know affected by dementia or to create memories with family and friends, people of all ages and abilities can sign up to Memory Walk to raise money to support people with dementia and find a cure.

Award-winning actress Vicky McClure, whose new period drama The Secret Agent will air on the BBC on 17 July, is taking part in Nottingham Memory Walk with her Mum, sister, nephew and family dogs.

McClure said: “My nana Iris, was diagnosed with dementia in 2013 and I soon began to see first-hand the difficulties many families go through when a loved one is diagnosed with this cruel condition. My nana was such a stylish, confident and proud woman before the dementia took hold and it was heart breaking when she was unable to recognise me and my family. Nana Iris lost her battle with dementia in 2014.

“Memory Walk is such a worthwhile event and this year will be my sixth in a row. It’s a great opportunity to get together with your family, enjoy time walking together and remember loved ones – I would love to see everyone putting their best foot forward to support Alzheimer’s Society and all those affected by dementia.”

Of the money raised, £650 would pay for a brain scan to help diagnosis, £100 would allow someone with dementia to attend ten Singing for the Brain® sessions, £20 would cover a month’s attendance at an Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Café.

Sisters Linda Metcalfe, 26, and Jodie Wray, 32, from Fulham, London are getting together with their family to walk for their ninety-one year old nan, Chrystalleni Peratikos, who lives with dementia. 

Metcalfe said: “Myself, my sister and my mum are all walking again this year in honour of my beloved nan. She has always been there for us and has always been such a strong woman, since coming over to the UK from Cyprus many years ago to start up a restaurant with my grandad.

“Dementia can strip away the person you are and my sister and I have found it so difficult because we haven’t been able to tell Nan our achievements and we know how proud she’d be. I can only imagine how my mum feels. Our love is still very much there though and will always remain. We will joining together this autumn at Memory Walk as a family to walk for my nan and world without dementia.”

Vicky McClure is the latest celebrity to sign up for Memory Walk this year, which is also being supported by Arlene Phillips, Jamie Anderson and Sally Lindsay, with a whole host of other names still to be announced.

Memory Walks are taking place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland September–October and you can register to take part now. Find a Memory Walk near you and sign up today to walk for a world without dementia.




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