During my Bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and sciences I started volunteering in a care home for people with advanced dementia in Amsterdam. I was fascinated by this new world I knew nothing about and became so passionate about dementia. To discover more about the dementia world I moved on to do a Master’s degree in policy studies with a focus on Scottish dementia policy at the University of Edinburgh. I continued volunteering, this time in a community setting with people in the earlier stages of dementia. After graduating I worked on a dementia friendly communities project, raising awareness about the illness so that people affected by dementia could participate in their community for as long as possible.
Now I work for Tide, where I work with people that provide unpaid care for someone with dementia. This work has made me reflect on my own personal story, and I have realised that when I was in my teens I had caring responsibilities myself. I didn’t know this at the time, no-one talked to me about it, so I just did what I had to do. Only now can I see the profound effect this has had on me and it took me a long time, hard work and many tears to sort this out. That is part of the reason why I’m passionate about talking (which people in my life know all too well…), specifically about having conversations about how people are really feeling. I want to motivate others to share their stories, not just because it feels good but because no matter how insignificant an experience may seem, it is so valuable and it can make a big difference to someone else.