Henry Rankin – Chair SDWG
East Renfrewshire resident Henry was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia in 2010.
After his diagnosis Henry did not want to leave the house to get the newspapers in case he bumped into a friend and could not remember their name. Ex-policeman Henry, attended the East Renfrewshire Carers Centre after his diagnosis with his wife Anne and met staff members Tracy Gilmour and Michelle Shaw. Here he also met other people who had recently been diagnosed and was able to come to terms with his diagnosis. Henry felt comfortable enough to take part in filming of the Facing Dementia Together Project with his wife and son. Michelle and Tracy encouraged Henry to come to a SDWG meeting – at first Henry was not sure if the group was for him. It was his wife Anne who encouraged him to attend another meeting and he is glad he did as he is now the Chair. Henry is in great demand to speak at conferences and events.
I am Archie Latta and I was diagnosed with the illness Korsakoffs’s syndrome, which is an alcohol related form of dementia, about 10 years ago. The main symptom of the illness is short term memory problems. I am a recovering alcoholic and at the time of my diagnosis I had been sober in Alcoholics Anonymous for 10 years. I was employed with Glasgow City Council Cleansing Department as a class 1 heavy goods vehicle driver when I first realised I had a problem. I would be sent to a location to repair a vehicle but when I arrived there the staff had no knowledge of the repair and when I phoned my Foreman he told me that this was not the location I had been asked to attend. I was convinced I was at the correct location and felt confused and bewildered when my Foreman told me I had got it wrong.
It was during a period of sick leave that I attended the Southern General Hospital for a brain scan and I was diagnosed with Korsakoff’s syndrome. I had never heard of this before and no one took the time to explain anything about the condition. After doing some research on my own I discovered that Korsakoff’s is caused by being deficient in the B vitamin thiamine – which is a vitamin for your brain that your body produces naturally. However, drinking excess amounts of alcohol over a long period of time can stop the body producing it naturally and lack of thiamine can lead to Korsakoff’s syndrome.
I struggle with short term memory loss daily but I find new ways of doing things and by sharing my experiences and giving time to the SDWG and those in Alcoholics Anonymous I feel I have been of service to others.
Agnes Houston comes from a nursing background and worked as a manager in a chiropractic practice. While caring for her dad who had vascular and Alzheimer’s Dementia she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s herself in 2006. Soon afterwards she joined The Scottish Dementia Working Group and became Chair in 2010. Agnes has campaigned on many issues including better training on dementia care in acute hospitals and raising awareness of visual impairment – commonly experienced by people with dementia. She has spoken at numerous conferences in the UK and internationally and has also had articles published in journals and newspapers. She has given radio interviews and appeared briefly on Panorama. She retired as Chair of SDWG in 2012 and is currently Vice Chair of the European Person With Dementia Working Group (EWGPWD). In 2015, Agnes was awarded the MBE (Member of the British Empire) in recognition of all the work she has done over the years raising awareness of dementia issues.