Chris Norris

Chris Norris lives in Ashford with his wife Rachael. In December, 2012, at the age of 58, he was diagnosed with Fronto-temporal Dementia (FTD) This is a rare form of dementia which is more common below the age of 65. Those below 65 are said to have Young Onset Dementia. Due to this diagnosis, he was no longer able to work.
In his working life, he was a musician in the Army, a Village Policeman and a Driving Examiner among other occupations.

He has been a KMPT Service User Envoy since 2015 and, as such, he endeavours to promote understanding around the subject of dementia both in the NHS and general public. He speaks at Conferences and Seminars and at a variety of organisations nationally and locally.

In 2016, he was presented with the Dementia Friendly Kent Award for Inspirational Volunteer and in June, 2019, he was presented with the KMPT Volunteer of the Year Award. He has recently been appointed as an Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador.

He is a reviewer with the Memory Services National Accreditation Programme (MSNAP) that looks at Memory Services all around the United Kingdom.
He is a very active member of the East Kent Forget Me Nots and the Ashford Phoenix. These are proactive groups consisting of people living with dementia, promoting understanding and working for change around the stigma about dementia.

He, alongside 7 other authors living with dementia, was involved in writing a book, “Welcome to Our World”. The book is an eclectic mix of stories and anecdotes from the 8 authors about experiences in their lives prior to dementia and their journeys thus far through the weird and varied landscape of dementia.

Chris is a great advocate and promotor of living as well as you can following a diagnosis of dementia. He works hard to demonstrate how people can help themselves and others to find ways of developing coping strategies. He say’s “Dementia comes in CANS. You have to focus on what you CAN do”.

His daily mantra is the famous Winston Churchill quote of “Never, Never, Never give up”!

Dementia Allies

Chris has been instrumental in bringing ‘Dementia Allies’ to Kent, having become aware of this initiative in other areas of the UK. It has now launched in the Canterbury area.

Visit the Dementia Allies page

Activity

Chis is regularly involved in a variety of activities relating to living well with dementia. Some of these are highlighted below.

Talks

Chris regularly gives talks to different organisations, locally in Kent and further afield. In the past year this has included Medway Fire Service, New Scotland Yard, and the Care Quality Commission.

In July 2018 Chris gave a talk at Cambridge University for the Faculty of Psychology of Older People (FPOP), part of the British Psychological Society. The talk to professionals in the field of dementia was around the perceptions held about behaviour traits in fronto-temporal dementia and his own lived experience so far.

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

Dementia Envoy Chris 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

Dementia 2020 Conference 2016

Chris gave a speech at the Dementia 2020 Conference on 12 April 2016.

The aim of the conference was 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.

Click here to read Chris's speech

Media

Live It Library

Chris has contributed to the ‘Live It Library’. Listen to Chris, who was diagnosed with fronto-temporal dementia. Before diagnosis, Chris was a Driving Examiner but found he was mixing up words, and his job was becoming harder and harder to do. He had planned to work for a further eight years and says it was hard to adjust.

Young Dementia UK

A short extract where Chris talks about how support from others allows him to continue with his music making hobby.

Dementia Diaries

Chris is among 40 contributors to the Dementia Diaries. This is a project that brings together diverse experiences of people living with dementia as a series of audio diaries.

It is regularly updated with a written transcript that is a personal record of people’s journey with dementia.

www.dementiadiaries.org 

BBC Radio 4 interview

Keith Oliver and Chris Norris talk about the '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 with a passionate foreword written by Jo Brand, who worked with dementia patients in Kent in her younger years.

August 2014 - Keith Oliver and Chris Norris talk about the 'Welcome to our World' book

Magazines

Dementia Focus is a magazine produced to support people with dementia, their families and carers across Kent and Medway. It is produced by the NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Kent County Council and other organisations in Kent. Chris was featured in an edition in which his role as a Dementia Service User was described. The piece, ‘Dementia Doesn’t Stop Chris’ features Chris talking about his experience of dementia and his involvement with Forget-Me-Nots.

Connected is a magazine published by Kent & Medway NHS & Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT). With another Dementia Envoy, Keith Oliver, Chris talked about the Envoy roles with KMPT. Click here to read the article