Dementia Service User Envoys

There are two Dementia Service User Envoys in the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT). They are Chris Norris and Keith Oliver

The Dementia Service User Envoys help to engage with people using mental health services in Kent and Medway. Part of their role includes:

  • Working with community projects related to dementia
  • Being a contact person for people who might benefit from the Envoy’s experience and offer support to those who share a similar diagnosis
  • Raising the profile, awareness and understanding of young onset dementia and dementia in the community
  • Delivering talks to staff and other health and social care staff, students and community groups.

Talks

Keith Oliver speaks at the Royal College of Psychiatrists' event on Dementia Care Evidence Based Treatment Pathway

Keith Oliver and Lewis Slade, KMPT Assistant Psychologist gave a talk in January 2017 to the Royal College of Psychiatrists' event on Dementia Care Evidence Based Treatment Pathway: Sharing best practice. 

The theme of the talk was co-production and Keith's involvement in the project and involving people with dementia in developing the guide. You can download Keith's presentation and talk below:

Dementia Care Evidence Based Treatment Pathway Talk

Dementia Care Evidence Based Treatment Pathway Presentation

Chris Norris speaks at DEEP - 'Making an Impact Together' Launch

Chris Norris, Dementia EnvoyChris Norris gave a talk at the Brighton UK Dementia Conference on 2 November 2016, to launch the DEEP document 'Making an Impact'. Members for the Forget Me Nots group as well as Chris were involved in discussions when the booklet was compiled. 

The document is a guidance document to assist other dementia Peer Support Groups to get going and to outline how to succeed and avoid the pitfalls. The document is a tool to empower groups to get the voice of those with dementia heard by covering subjects including making allies and getting noticed, working together effectively, changing the public understanding of dementia and improving the environment for those with dementia.

Download and read Chris' talk

View 'Making an Impact Together' booklet

Chris Norris speaks at Dementia 2020 Conference 2016

Chris Norris, Dementia Service User Envoy for KMPT, gave a speech at the Dementia 2020 Conference on 12 April 2016.

The aim of the conference is to create a society by 2020 where every person with dementia in every area of the country receives high quality compassionate care from diagnosis through to end of life care.

Chris spoke about his personal experience of being diagnosed with dementia in December 2012. He was the only person living with a diagnosis of dementia on the day and focused the delegates minds on the needs of people with a diagnosis and challenged them to not only “talk the talk” at the conference but to also “walk the walk” in services across the country.

Chris is an active member of the East Kent Forget Me Nots group. The group consists of people that have been diagnosed with dementia who help to promote the understanding around the subject of dementia by talking at conferences, seminar and to health organisations.

Download and read Chris’ speech.

Interviews

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing

Creative Health:
The Arts for Health and Wellbeing

Keith Oliver, KMPT Dementia Envoy is a representative of people with dementia for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing as part of an inquiry into mental health issues. You can watch an interview between Keith Oliver and Lord Howarth, the co-chair of the enquiry. 

 'I thought I was bulletproof' - Keith Oliver interview with homecare.co.uk

Keith talks to homecare.co.uk about how his life was turned upside down when doctors confirmed 'the unknown'. Read the full article.

BBC Radio 4 interviews

Keith Oliver, one of our Dementia Envoys and Forget Me Nots has been interviewed for the Radio 4 You and Yours programme talking about dementia. Listen to Keith's interviews:

  • January 2017 - Keith Oliver talks about how he has written a book about his experience of dementia.
  • October 2015 - Dementia Tsar, Alistair Burns discusses finding a dementia cure in the next 10 years
  • July 2015 - Keith talks about his experience with the disease
  • August 2014 - Keith Oliver and Chris Norris talk about the 'Welcome to our World' book
  • June 2014 - Listen to Keith's involvement in a discussion with the Prime Minister about finding a cure for dementia

BBC Radio Kent interview

  • February 2017 - Keith Oliver and Tom Coppins from the Memorybilia group talk to BBC Radio Kent Breakfast about living with dementia (at 1 hour 8 minutes in to the programme). 

Student BMJ Interview - What matters to me: living with Alzheimer's disease

Keith Oliver shares his experiences as a patient living with Alzheimer's disease. Read the article on the Student BMJ website

Young Onset Dementia - Keith Oliver's Story

 

Dementia: A month in the life - BBC Documentary

Publications

Walk The Walk, Talk The Talk Cover'Walk The Walk, Talk The Talk

' by Keith Oliver

'At one time I thought I was bullet proof: I was wrong. No one is.’

On New Year’s Eve 2010, Keith Oliver was told by a doctor that he had Alzheimer’s Disease. He was just 55, the head of a thriving primary school, a husband, father and grandfather, in the process of studying for an MA in Education.

Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk is the story of Keith’s life before, during and since receiving his diagnosis, told not just by Keith, but by the health professionals, friends and family who know him best, and including a selection of the talks he has given to a wide variety of audiences since his diagnosis. This is a story of hope and encouragement that is both moving and inspiring.

The book was chosen by the Alzheimer's Society as one of six (Welcome to Our World was also chosen) as a key book written by someone with dementia for World Book Day in March 2017.

Since publication in November 2016, the book has taken £3500, and Keith hopes that this figure will pass £6500 by the time the project closes in November 2018. The money raised by the sale of the book goes to two causes: Innovation in Dementia and the Alzheimer's Society. 

‘An essential companion for anyone who has been diagnosed with dementia, or those close to them… It’s a damn good read.’
- Richard Madeley, Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador

Keith and Rosemary Oliver

KMPT Dementia Envoy Keith Oliver with the book he has written "Walk the Walk, talk the Talk". His wife Rosemary who is with him here, painted the design for the front cover of the book". The book tells Keith's story both before and since being diagnosed with Young Onset Alzheimer's disease.

'Welcome to our World' book

In 2014, some of the Forget Me Nots were taught life writing skills by a local author which resulted in the publication of a unique book called 'Welcome to Our World'. The book challenges the stereotypical views about living with dementia. It’s thought to be the first time that a group, whose members are all experiencing symptoms of dementia, has come together to tell their stories, record their memories and publish them in a book. The group is delighted to have the book endorsed by a passionate foreward written by Jo Brand who worked with dementia patients in Kent in her younger days.

One of the writers is former Kent head teacher and Dementia Envoy Keith Oliver, who was diagnosed three years ago at the age of 55.

Keith said: “I am so proud of the people involved – we have a carpenter, a policeman, a lifeboat man and people from other professions. Some have never written stories before in their lives. We’re showing what we can do in spite of our diagnosis and, with the students’ involvement, it’s a true inter-generational project.

“There are other books out there which challenge the stereotypes about dementia but they are written by exceptional individuals writing a whole book. What we think is unique about this project is that it’s the first time a group like ours has got together to write.”

Another writer and Dementia Envoy, Chris Norris added: “By publishing the book we can get the message across that dementia is not ‘the end of the world’.”

The book was funded by a grant from the Alzheimer's Society.

Suffering with dementia: the other side of “living well’’

Download the following guest editorial piece written with involvement from Keith Oliver, from International Psychogeriatrics (2017). The piece is published on the Cambridge University website.

Suffering with dementia: the other side of “living well’’