A statement following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
I am writing today with deep sadness following yesterday’s news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Our thoughts are with the Royal Family and of those near and far who mourn her loss.
Our organisation has a rich history that goes back 160 years and a royal heritage established more than a century ago. We became known as Dementia Carers Count in 2018, but The Surgical Aid Society was founded in June 1862 and Edward VII became our first Royal patron in 1901. George V succeeded him in 1910 and two years later granted the ‘Royal’ title so that we became the Royal Surgical Aid Society.
From 1862 to the arrival of the National Health Service, we provided a total of 1,929,210 surgical aids to those in need; not only in the UK, but in many other countries across the world. The RSAS then turned its attention to setting up homes to care for older people, including people with dementia.
Supporting family carers of people with dementia became our focus in 2017 and we changed our name to Dementia Carers Count to reflect this renewed mission and purpose. However, our deep gratitude and appreciation for our royal heritage remains. We thank Her Majesty the Queen for her tireless and dignified leadership and dedication to public service and charity.
A time of grief
With or without direct connection, Her Majesty has become a familiar stranger to us all. Her face on our currency, in our newspapers and on our TV screens from the moment of her Coronation, 70 years ago. Most of us haven’t known another monarch in our lifetimes.
Many of us will feel connected in our grief over the coming weeks. Some of us will feel surprised about the depth of feeling it conjures up. A national outpouring of grief can be both cathartic, a relief, but overwhelming all at the same time.
It may remind us of our own bereavements. For family carers it may be all the more complex. Feelings of grief are not only experienced after bereavement in relation to dementia, they can be felt even before diagnosis as we recognise a life and memories that have gone before, slipping away. Or even the loss of the future that won’t happen as we had hoped. Grief is unique and challenging and unpredictable.
During this period of national mourning many events will be cancelled allowing us time to reflect and grieve. However, we are very aware the role of a carer doesn’t cease.
Our services at Dementia Carers Count will continue as planned with all online and face-to-face courses going ahead throughout the coming weeks. We invite you during these small informal sessions to share your feelings in a safe space should you wish to.
Dementia Carers Count have recently introduced a 24-hour text service, and on Monday 12th September we will launch a new telephone support service available Mon-Fri from 9am to 5pm. We also offer online and face to face support sessions to help carers cope and take care of themselves.
I invite and encourage you to phone our carer support line on 0800 652 1102.
With my warmest regards at this difficult time,
Acting CEO, Dementia Carers Count