September 26th, 2016

Take the chance to be a Dementia Friend

Updated: 12:02 pm, Jun 03, 2016

A PROJECT has been launched by the Alzheimer’s Society to make residents more aware of those living with dementia.

Observer reporter Joshua Godfrey attended a session to become dementia friendly and found out more about why it is so important to be more understanding of those living with dementia in our town.

EVESHAM has already begun its journey to become the first dementia friendly town in Worcestershire- an Alzheimer’s Society project to make residents and businesses in the town more aware and understanding of those who are living with dementia.

Part of that project is to see more people become dementia friends; someone who knows a little bit more about what it’s like to live with dementia and to turn that understanding into action.

Going into the session I knew everything I would learn would be completely knew to me, not only because there is no one in my immediate family who is living with dementia, but also because I didn’t really know anything about what it is like to live with or care for someone with dementia.

The session began with a staggering fact that more than 10,000 people are currently living with dementia in Worcestershire, and the youngest known person to have been diagnosed with dementia in the county was just 32-years-old.

A stark realisation that the condition doesn’t just affect those in their old age, but can also affect the young.

From that we moved on to a word association game to see if we could find the right words to the questions in order to test our knowledge of dementia.

Although it was a simple game, it made it clear how someone’s life as they know it doesn’t end when they’re diagnosed, but people with dementia can still carry on doing the things they love.

Perhaps the most important part of the session, and an activity which taught me the most about dementia, was being asked to place ourselves in the mind of a 60-year-old woman living with dementia.

The questions were difficult, especially not knowing much about dementia myself, but it was interesting to see how the group answered the questions differently.

For example, would the 60-year-old woman be able to dress herself without any help and would the 60-year-old woman place an electric kettle on the hob because she remembers how she used a kettle in her childhood.

These are simple everyday tasks that we all take for granted, but for people living with dementia these tasks can become much more difficult.

But that’s why we learnt in the session how making small changes, such as giving someone with dementia a stove top kettle, can allow them to still live independent lives as much as possible.

Before going into this session I hardly knew anything about dementia, but following the Dementia Friends session I am more understanding of those living with dementia and more confident in helping someone who is in need.

We are all guilty of becoming inpatient in our fast-pace lives, but we need to be more thoughtful of those living with dementia and becoming a Dementia Friend is a great way to gain that greater understanding.

Dementia Friends sessions are being held at the Evesham Community Contact Centre on Thursday, June 16 from 9.30am until 10.30am, and on Thursday, July 21 between 9.30am and 10.30am.

Visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk for more information.

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