KEITH OLIVER'S REAL LIFE STORY
Although born, raised and educated in the north, Keith has lived happily in the Canterbury area since 1981. He is married with three grown up children and three grandchildren. For 33 years Keith worked as a teacher and a head teacher in a number of primary schools. He also served a two year secondment to Kent County Council as Canterbury’s Primary Schools’ Advisor.
On New Year’s Eve 2010 Keith’s life changed dramatically when a suspected diagnosis of dementia, in his case Alzheimer’s disease, was confirmed. Between January – April 2011 Keith came to terms with the diagnosis and was determined to fill the vacuum created in his life by having to take early retirement at 55. He decided that as ”one door closes another will open” and that he would use his energy, drive and remaining skills to make a contribution towards public awareness around dementia. Since May 2011 Keith has developed a unique role within the dementia world of being a Dementia Service User Envoy, and has become an important volunteer within the Kent & Medway NHS Partnership Trust.
He has spoken at many conferences to a wide range of audiences. He presented at the Alzheimer’s Disease International conference in March 2012 and at the UK Dementia Congress in November 2012, and has been called upon to support training for care home staff and Kent County Council library, museum, art gallery and Gateway staff. Keith’s skills and experience results in a full diary. He is an active and committed member of the Dementia Action Alliance, and represents Dementia UK on the steering committee for VALID (Valuing Active Life in Dementia) which is jointly run by University College London and NE London NHS Trust. He has completed a number of projects on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Society and has helped to found and co-chair the flourishing KMPT Service User Network (“Kent Forget Me Nots”.)
His story has been covered in local and national newspapers, magazines and television, along with being used world-wide as a dementia training tool via a You Tube film entitled “Keith Oliver’s story”.
“Once a teacher, always a teacher” could easily be Keith’s catchphrase as he seeks to continue to contribute to public life.