Football chiefs have teamed up with The Sporting Memories Foundation to produce a guide to help former players diagnosed with dementia. The Professional Footballers’ Association have produced the guide with The Sporting Memories Foundation and researchers from the Centre for Dementia Research at Leeds Beckett University.
Gordon Taylor, CEO of the PFA said “It has been designed to give practical first steps and tips on living day to day with dementia.”
May Tees, wife of the former Grimsby Town footballer Matt Tees who lives with Dementia and appeared on Alan Shearer’s recent Football, Dementia and Me documentary, said: “The guide offers really good day to day advice on things that can help families living with someone that has Dementia.
“The legal advice in particular is excellent and our power of attorneys are now being used which is great. The benefits that are out there and help being offered is excellent and lets new people who have just been diagnosed know what is available to them within the game.
“Newly diagnosed people don’t know where to turn initially. They have the same information from Memory Clinics but it takes time to get your head round the diagnosis and all the legal obligations involved, so I hope the guide will really have a benefit in that area.
Our local Sporting Memories group is going from strength to strength and they have now started a second group because of the interest. Our group has a real mix of people and not everyone has memory problems. Most of the participants are there for the social aspect the group offers them, and as well as the five or six members who attend and are living with dementia, the interaction the group offers is fabulous and really helps.”
Co-founder of Sporting Memories Foundation, Tony Jameson-Allen, said: “We set up Sporting Memories back in 2011 to help older sports fans by tapping in to the rich sporting history and heritage we have in Britain. We’re a nation of sports fans, by using images, video and memorabilia the sessions we run assist the recall and sharing of memories. Promoting cognition, communication and triggering stories & discussion helps our group members to have fun, make friends and in many cases, reconnect with the sports they love.
“Football is of course one of the most popular topics and we work with a number of former players who are living with dementia. This led to connecting with the PFA who funded some of our early work with a number of community trusts of Premier League clubs. Working with researchers at Leeds Beckett University, we produced the guide on dementia for former players and their families to be able to have some practical advice and information.
“Dementia is incurable and there is currently no effective treatment. This makes it all the more important that there are interventions and activities developed and provided to help support people to live as well as possible with the disease. The weekly Sporting Memories groups provide a way of stimulating conversation and discussion that enables people to tell their stories, to remain connected to friends and to make new friendships all through the power of sport.”