Category Archives: Dementia Friend Sessions

Ask your DFO – What is National Inclusion Week and how can i get involved?

 

Ask your DFO

Question: What is National Inclusion Week and how can I get involved?

Answer: National Inclusion Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of the importance of inclusion in all activities and projects.

Inclusion is about making sure that people feel valued, respected, listened to and able to challenge. It’s about recognising and valuing the differences we each bring and creating an environment where everyone has equal access to opportunities and resources and can contribute.

You can help make Dementia Friends as inclusive as possible by running an information session using the BAME, learning disability or children’s resources that can be found on your Champions dashboard. Your DFO will be able to help you if you have any questions about these resources. If you think there is an area of work or group that the Dementia Friends team should be working with then please get in touch with your DFO.

Don’t forget to take photos of any session and use the hashtags #DementiaFriends and #NIW2017 

 

Our Very First Dementia Friends Champion Conferences

“The whole day was very enjoyable but the most enjoyable moment was listening to Alan Mills. Totally inspirational and underlines why we Dementia Friends Champions are so committed to do everything we can to eradicate the stigma of dementia.” – Vivienne Edgar

Champions from all over the country gathered to be United against Dementia at our very first Champion Conferences. Across both events over 150 enthusiastic volunteers attended workshops to enhance skills and to hear more about the future for Dementia Friends and Alzheimer’s Society. We find out how Dementia Friends Champions are dedicating their time to creating more dementia-friendly communities.

A summary of the day’s events included key presentations on ending isolation through the Side by Side service, reaching different audiences, making businesses more dementia-friendly and exploring fundraising ideas as a volunteer. Workshops were split between an inspirational talk from Alan Mills, who is living with dementia, and presentations discussing Alzheimer’s Society new brand.

Vivienne Edgar, Dementia Friend Champion, provides us with great insight into how she has used her newly gained knowledge on reaching business audiences to engage with local supermarkets:

“As a result of the Business Audience Focus workshop I made an appointment to meet the manager of my local Co-op this morning and he has agreed for us to do a running programme of Sessions for his 75 staff members in their working time, which is fab. He is going to contact other local Co-op managers to see if we can all work together. The business focus workshop gave me the courage to take that direct step.”

Vivienne’s bold and empowering decision to connect with local businesses helps all of us take that one step closer to making communities more dementia-friendly. Similarly, Dementia Friend Champion Alan Richardson has perfectly demonstrated how by sharing each other’s experiences we can inspire action:

Following the conference I have already engaged with a local shopping centre and arranged a meeting. I have been running evening Sessions once a week for 12 weeks at a GP practise. Some of us have been able to engage with different areas of health and social care including GP Practices – others have not been able to make the same inroads. Being able to share how this has been done can hopefully help others.”  

As we all continue to create more Dementia Friends it is important that we continue to understand how Dementia Friends and Alzheimer’s Society are working together. Both conferences provided the perfect opportunity to communicate across how both Dementia Friends and Dementia Friends Champions are an integral part in helping us transform the landscape of dementia forever. Dementia Friend Champion Wendy Ferguson describes just how important this is:

“It was good to feel a part of the Dementia Friends movement and hear more about the Alzheimer’s Society. I was encouraged to hear about some of the strands of work the society is involved with nationally.”

We all find ways of engaging with our communities and it is dependent upon on what works well for your community. It is important that we continue to be United against Dementia. It is fair to say our first conferences were a success!

 

Dementia Friends & The Guinness Partnership

Staff at housing and care organisation The Guinness Partnership have been working hard to raise awareness of dementia across the organisation and encourage staff to take action to help people affected by dementia. We spoke to Wendy Wells to find out what impact Dementia Friends has had.

Dementia Friends & The Guinness Partnership

Encouraging healthcare students to engage with dementia

‘It’s good for students to start with a community perspective as most people with health conditions are community based’ – Professor Lesley Baillie, Dementia Friends Champion

Healthcare professionals at universities across England and Wales are encouraging their students to become Dementia Friends as part of their studies. We chat to the Dementia Friends Champions who are delivering the Sessions, to find out what kind of impact they are having.

Dementia Friends for healthcare professionals

Continue reading

Exeter City FC supporting people affected by dementia

 

As part of Exeter City Football Club’s commitment to the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance (EDAA) the One Game One Community match event was held at St James Park. The event enabled over 40 people living with dementia and their families to enjoy complimentary tickets to the Exeter v Luton Town game.

Gina Awad who leads EDAA delivered two Dementia Friends sessions to staff at the Club, one in the Soring and the second as part of #TeamDementiaFriends campaign. The Club were inspired to go the extra mile recognising the need for further dementia awareness in the community.

A summary of the event included; all the players sporting t-shirts for their warm up illustrating “working towards a dementia friendly city’, EDAA had a stand in Red Square raising awareness, use of the community Hospitality box for specially invited guests, a feature in the programme and a bucket collection.

In addition at half time Exeter City Council officially joined as the latest members of the alliance, honouring their commitment and action towards a dementia friendly city.

One attendee bought her 90 year old father to the match and encapsulated her feelings, she said

“It was such a lovely day yesterday. My father cannot remember how long it is since he last saw a football match, but he thinks it is at least 60 years. It is the only time my father and my son have had ‘man time’ together as well. For me, the day is a memory that I will always want to retain, along with the photos and the Exeter City FC hat I bought my father. He simply loved it every moment of the day, the hot dog, the hot chocolate, the game and spending time with family. My son, the football fan, is now trying to get the rest of the family along to a game to enjoy the atmosphere, so maybe Exeter City FC will have some new fans as well. Thank you for making a magical day for us all”.

Gina said “we have received some truly heartfelt responses as a result of the event and this illustrates how meaningful our work really is for people living with dementia in the community and their families. What was wonderful to see was the uptake from local care homes and their residents a focus that felt important to pursue”.

All that was needed for a perfect end to the day was a goal from Exeter City but it wasn’t meant to be!

Dementia Friendly Awards 2016: Meet the finalists for Dementia Friends Champion of the Year

This award celebrates the action taken by Dementia Friends Champions to raise awareness, challenge misconceptions and inspire change through running Information Sessions.

The nominations for this award demonstrated the passion and motivation of Dementia Friends Champions across England and Wales. Champions are not only running Information Sessions and helping others to learn more about dementia; they are then going on to inspire change in all areas of their communities. Here are the three finalists:

Gina Awad

Gina’s work in the Exeter area to help support and empower people affected by dementia has had a real impact on the community. Since becoming a Champion back in 2014, Gina has reached over 1200 Dementia friends by delivering nearly 100 Sessions, both public and private.

Gina’s passionate style has inspired a cross section of organisations to not only hold Dementia Friends Sessions but to go on and take further actions that are making a big difference for those affected by dementia.  For example, Gina has formed and developed partnerships with the local football club, cinema and a number of GP health centres in addition to many others. The results have seen dementia friendly cinema screenings, signage adjustments and a dementia awareness day booked for later this year at Exeter City Football Club.

Gina believes the Dementia Friends initiative has been the fundamental resource in creating local changes and inspiring so many in Exeter.

As one carer said to Gina:

“You are a true advocate for people living with dementia and their families. Thank you for all your work to improve matters for us”.

Continue reading

Combining the community spirit of Girlguides & Dementia Friends

Dementia Friends Champion Fiona Joines saw the parallels between the aims of Dementia Friends and Girlguiding and set about getting her guiding colleagues on board with the initiative.

‘I have been aware of dementia for some time and was particularly fascinated and saddened by Terry Pratchett’s journey that he so eloquently shared with the world via his documentaries ‘Choosing to Die’ and ‘Living with Alzheimer’s’; both of these gave me a little insight and inspired me to do something. We are all likely to be impacted by Dementia in our life and so, I feel we have a responsibility to learn a little about it. That’s where Dementia Friends came in. It made sense to me that people needed to be able to talk about dementia and to feel comfortable doing so and I knew with the facilitator skills I have, I could help people to do this.

Continue reading

Champion Sylvia Oram on getting young people involved with Dementia Friends

Here is an inspirational story from Sylvia Oram, a Dementia Friends Champion who recently ran Information Sessions with 90 eight-year-old children and worked with a local residential home. Here is her story of how she went through the Sessions and has bought about a change in how the kids understand people living with dementia.

Dementia Friend Champion - An inspirational story from Sylvia Oram

Continue reading

I’ve been asked to run an info stand to raise awareness of Dementia Friends – what can I do?

Aimee PackwoodEach month, one of our DFOs (Dementia Friends Officers) answer one of your Dementia Friends Champions questions. Aimee Packwood, DFO for the South West, answers this month’s question:

I’ve been asked to run an info stand to raise awareness of Dementia Friends – what can I do?

Thanks so much for helping us to promote Dementia Friends! Having a stall is a great way to talk to people about what Dementia Friends is and why they should sign up, and can help us to reach lots of people who haven’t heard of Dementia Friends.

Continue reading