DonMentia Charity was founded in August 2013 by Eileen Harrington, who has been a Doncaster resident for almost fifty years and was a teacher working in many schools across the Borough until she retired in 2004.This retirement was pre-empted because of the difficulties incurred in caring for her husband, Donald (Don), who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 1999.
Don became very difficult and demanding, which will be familiar to, and recognised by, many carers of people with dementia, but in his case some of his behaviour was extremely severe. Don remained at home until 2005, when, having been sectioned into Tickhill Road Hospital, he then received excellent care at Flower Park Nursing Home in Denaby, where he remained until he died in April 2008.
During this time Eileen was Chair of the local Doncaster Alzheimer’s Committee until it disbanded to be restructured. Nevertheless she continued fundraising for the Society accumulating tens of thousands of pounds on their behalf.DonMentia was created as a local, registered charity because of the many requests for the funds raised to be used directly for Doncaster people affected by dementia.
It is purely serendipitous that her husband was called Don.
Since its inception in 2013 DonMentia has raised over thirty thousand pounds through a variety of methods, which have been used to fund equipment, day trips, transport, events, activities, meals and entertainment solely for Doncaster people and their families affected by dementia.
Eileen also Chairs the Doncaster Dementia Forum, which has been running for over five years.
The aim of the Forum is to capture the voice, thoughts, opinions and ideas of people with dementia and their carers. All of these, as well as requests, are then taken to the Doncaster Dementia Strategic Partnership to ensure they are heard and considered by Commissioners and senior officials working on their behalf in Doncaster.
Eileen is a member of Doncaster Dementia Action Alliance and also the patient and carers’ representative on the Older Peoples’ Mental Health Steering Group at Doncaster Royal Infirmary. She is also a Governor for Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) ensuring the dementia voice is heard by RDaSH, too.