For Dementia Awareness Week 2015 (17-23 May), we are encouraging all our Dementia Friends Champions to #DoSomethingNew – it could be that you run your first outdoor Session at the local park, do a Session in the middle of the night or run a Session for a group you’ve never delivered to before.
Lots of our Champions are already running interesting and unusual Sessions across the country, such as Mandy Rowlands who ran a Session at a city farm in Southampton. The farm was looking to run farm experience days for people with dementia and so Mandy stepped in to help.
‘The staff were keen to have a little more understanding of dementia and so we invited their staff to become Dementia Friends and I ran the session for them at the farm. It was great as they introduced me to all the small animals including a sugar glider!’
Val Mathewson took the chance to hone her Champions skills by delivering a Session for her brother on his canal boat. She said the chance came about as her brother was in the area after ‘cruising around the canals for the previous eight months or so.’
‘We were talking about our mum and my volunteering as a Dementia Friend Champion and how it is possible to support people to live well and break down stigma. He said he would like to complete a session, so we followed the session plan and carried out the bingo and bookcase activities to deepen his understanding which he really enjoyed.’
Using an informal, relaxed setting is a great way to gain confidence as a Champion and practice the Sessions. This is exactly what Debbie Hewitt did when she spent a weekend camping with her friends.
‘We all came together in a semi-circle in the middle of the grass areas, it was a nice warm day and we had drinks and nibbles. Despite the relaxed atmosphere, everyone took it seriously, asked questions and enjoyed the activities. The ‘who’s right’ activity in particular created a good debate.’
The possibilities are endless for fun, interesting and informative Sessions, so start thinking about what you can do for Dementia Awareness Week 2015.