There are more than 1000 different types of dementia, with Alzheimer’s being just one of them.
Here in Lanarkshire, 10,460 people are currently being supported on their dementia journey by the charity Alzheimer Scotland.
But there are likely many more families who are muddling through on their own, waiting for a diagnosis.
It is expected that 20,000 people in Scotland will be diagnosed with the condition every year until 2020.
So it is clear Alzheimer Scotland needs ever more support to ensure no-one faces dementia alone.
On Saturday (September 22) people across Lanarkshire will be given a chance to support the charity when the area’s Memory Walk is staged at Strathclyde Country Park in Motherwell.
In charge of organising that walk is Marilyn Boyd, the charity’s community fundraiser for Lanarkshire and Glasgow.
And she is hoping to build on last year’s event to make 2018 the best year ever.
Marilyn said: “Last year was our most successful yet, with 472 participants raising more than £33,000.
“We want to build on that success this year and make it even bigger and better.”
The Henderson family from Motherwell will be taking part in their first walk this year but have opted to sign up for the event at Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow next Sunday, September 30.
Richard and Tammy will be stepping out with their children, Luke (4) and two-year-old Noah.
Tammy (33), who works in a children’s nursery centre, said: “In 2012 my mother-in-law Anne started to deteriorate following her diagnosis and is now in the late stages of dementia.
“She lives in residential care and we visit her every week but I find it very difficult to watch a lady who had so much love and kindness for her family and friends now unable to communicate.
“Our oldest son often asks why his gran doesn’t speak to him when we visit and we try to explain this awful disease in a way that a four-year-old can understand.
“This is one of our reasons for taking part in the walk – to help them understand a little more about dementia and that lots of other people have it too.
“We are all really looking forward to taking part as a family in honour of an amazing mum, mother-in-law and gran.
“We hope to raise as much as we can to help Alzheimer Scotland support other families living with dementia who are going through the same experiences.”
At the Motherwell walk on Saturday, many people will be taking part in support or memory of loved ones.
And the cards they wear with pride along the route will detail their own very personal stories.
A memory wall will also display messages.
Marilyn said: “A lot of people walk in honour or support of a loved one.
“It’s quite emotional to see their “I’m walking for” cards with their memories and photos and it can be quite overwhelming for some.
“There’s a real community spirit too, though, as people are walking for a cause they feel very strongly about.”
While emotions may be close to the surface, there will be a party atmosphere too thanks to live music, a face painter and Rapunzel dropping in for a visit – sporting her purple dress in line with the charity.
Marilyn added: “It should be a great day. We just want people to come along, sign up and show their support.”
The beauty of Memory Walks – whether in Motherwell on Saturday or Kelvingrove next Sunday – is that the whole family can take part.
You can stride, stroll or toddle; it is perfect for all ages and abilities.
Online registration for the Lanarkshire 6.1K event has now closed. But there’s still time to take part, with cash-only registration at 11am across from the Alona Hotel, priced £15 for adults, £5 for those aged 12 to 16 and free for under 12s. The walk kicks off at noon.
There are around 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland.
Henry Simmons, Alzheimer Scotland’s chief executive, said: “Our memory walks are a great way for people in Scotland to come together to help us raise awareness and vital funds to support people living with the condition.
“Every penny raised will go towards our goal – making sure that no-one faces dementia alone.
“Our local resource hubs are committed to providing the best possible care, support and information.
“They also work to ensure people with dementia and their carers are recognised and valued.
“Every step walkers take on Saturday in Lanarkshire will help make a difference.”
For more, visit www.memorywalksscotland.org.