READING is marking this year's Dementia Action Week (May 20 - 26) with a free event at The Museum of English Rural Life (The MERL).

The event, which will be officially opened by the Mayor of Reading, will include entertainment from the Young People with Dementia Choir, a fun exercise class, reminiscence sessions and Dementia Friends sessions.

The MERL will also be offering a Dance for Health session in the afternoon and there will be 30 minute tours of the museum on offer throughout the day, as well as opportunities to do some gardening.

Dementia friendly volunteers and Alzheimer’s Society Advisors will be on hand throughout the day to support people attending who are living with Dementia, as well as their family and friends.

The café at The MERL will be open all day and people are encouraged to bring a picnic to enjoy in the garden (weather permitting).

During Action Week, the local Dementia Action Alliance is also appealing for local businesses to pledge their support and become dementia friendly.

Dementia friends sessions are free of charge, interactive and informative.

The 45 minute session will ensure that participants understand the challenges persons living with dementia and their carers face, when going about their daily lives.

Allowing dementia to be better understood means more support for the many residents who are living with dementia.

To sign up to the Alliance and find out more, contact:

Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s lead member for Health, said: "Dementia is a condition that is affecting more and more of us.

"When our communities become dementia-aware and dementia-friendly, it can have a positive effect on promoting people’s ability to live independently for as long as possible.

"Families and carers also benefit from this approach as it can help support them to continue to care for someone living with dementia.

"If you are someone whose life has been touched by dementia, I encourage you, your family and friends to come along to the free event at The MERL on Wednesday 22nd May.

"There are lots of great activities on offer as well as the opportunity to find out about local support available.

"We are also urging Reading Businesses to join the pledge their support and commit your organisation to become dementia friendly by signing up to the Dementia Action Alliance."

The event will take place on Wednesday, May 22, and runs from 10am to 4pm

To find out more details about the week, contact Michelle Berry on 07834 335103 or email

You can also visit the museum website at: