A RETIRED teacher has compiled a booklet to help those who support people with mental illness.
Hartlepool woman Liz Fletcher has put together a 12-page leaflet called Caring For People With Dementia.
The free booklet, which has been sponsored by the town’s Wharton Annexe, offers help and advice for carers of people who have suffered from dementia and memory loss.
Liz, who taught at the town’s King Oswy and then Henry Smith School, and also High Tunstall School, said the book is in “simple language” and helps signpost them to services.
She said the inspiration behind the book was “triggered by personal loss” after she witnessed first-hand the effects of dementia, as her mum passed away after a five-year battle with the illness.
Liz had also visited people in care homes suffering from the condition.
It offers simple advice, including to buy a replacement key and to keep it safe, to stop dementia sufferers from wandering the streets at night.
She said: “Many years ago my mother died from dementia. “My father decided he was going to keep her at home.
“I saw the effect it had on him.
“During the day, when there were lots of people around, it wasn’t so bad.
“But it’s at night, when they have to close the door and lock it.
“They have got to keep the key with them as sufferers of memory loss can find the key and end up wandering the streets.
“It’s about keeping the sufferer safe.
“I wanted to alleviate things a bit with some ideas, and also signpost them to services to show they are not alone.”
Liz thanked Hartlepool Healthwatch members, Gretton Court, and Atkinson Print for their support in producing the leaflet.
The book was launched during an event at Wharton Annexe to mark International Day of the Older Person.
This included a coffee morning, tombola, and stalls ran by Hartlepool Carers, Hartlepool Healthwatch and Greatham Hospital of God, as well as refreshments.
Teresa Driver, youth and community co-ordinator at the Annexe, said around 50 people attended and added that it was a good way to promote the booklet.
The event also raised funds for a trip for the young people of the Annexe.
The book is available from Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency (HVDA), and there are plans to make it available in doctor’s surgeries.