Dementia campaigner Joy Watson honoured by University of Salford

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Dementia campaigner Joy Watson, from Eccles, is to be honoured by the University of Salford.

The 57-year-old, who developed dementia herself in her 40s, works tireless to raise awareness of the lives of hundreds of younger people living with so-called ‘young onset dementia’.

Joy will be made an Honorary Doctor of the University during the Graduation Ceremony of the School of Nursing, Midwifery Social Work and Social Sciences on Thursday, 21 July 2016.

Chair of the Salford Institute for Dementia at the University of Salford, the Rt Hon Hazel Blears, said: “’Joy is an inspiration to everyone she meets. Her determination to be a voice for people living with dementia shines out.

“She has challenged the status quo and has achieved real improvements in services especially for younger Joys. Her and husband Tony make a brilliant team and deserve this honour from Salford so much.”

On diagnosis in 2013, Joy turned her feelings of despair on their head to become a full time dementia activist, locally and nationally. Her first action was to encourage nearly every shop in Eccles to become dementia-aware, winning the backing of Salford city Council and inspiring the then Mayor Ian Stewart to pursue a goal of making Salford Britain’s most dementia-friendly city.

Joy is also a prolific public speaker with a message that positive action can enable people with dementia to live well.

A founder of Dementia Havens and an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society, Joy was recently recognised with the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award.

Joy is an associate of the Salford Institute for Dementia at the University of Salford. The Institute’s mission is to engage with community care, health and housing groups to design research and innovation to improve the lives of diagnosed people and their carers. Joy is currently part of the advisory and steering groups for the Young Onset Dementia study which is supported by The Booth Charities.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Salford, Professor Helen Marshall said: “Joy has a determination and passion to change attitudes despite the challenges that she faces. She embodies the University’s values, acting with honesty and respect towards those living with dementia and their carers, proud of who she is and enthusiastic and passionate about the difference she makes.”

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