Dementia Awareness Week 2016 is done and what a week it was! Dementia Friends Champions across the country were running thousands of Information Sessions, organisations were encouraging their staff to get involved and thousands of people across different communities were becoming Dementia Friends and turning their understanding into action.
Ian Hind, Regional Support Officer for the East Midlands, gives us an update on the changes made to the Dementia Friends Champions resources.
As you may be aware, we are always looking to develop the Information Session resources you use to deliver so we have a few small changes. Many of these changes have come about from input from yourselves as Champions, so it is exciting to be able to enhance these with your support.
There are some changes in wording and questioning to help get either a little more clarity or value from parts of the Information Session.These changes won’t impact on the resources you use for the Bingo/Broken sentences activities. You can find these up to date resources on your Champions dashboard.
For some Champions, language is not a barrier when it comes to running Sessions. Catherine Lewis-Dobson recently ran two Sessions at the request of the Hyde Community Action, for Bengali speaking women. Given that she does not know Bengali, and the attendees spoke little English, she used the services of a Community Worker who had attended one of her English Sessions to be an interpreter. Cathy tells us more about how the it worked and gives some tips for other Champions:
A Million Hands, Alzheimer’s Society’s partnership with the Scout Association, launched back in October 2015. Since the launch, Scouts across the country have been choosing dementia as the issue they want to tackle and have been going on to learn more about the condition and the actions they can take to support people living with dementia. One of the ways they have been doing this is by taking part in a Dementia Friends Information Session, run by our volunteer Dementia Friends Champions.
In January, Champion Peter Ley ran a couple of Sessions for Cub Scouts and Explorer Scouts and, in the process, made the 1000th Scout Dementia Friend! We spoke to Peter to find out a bit more about the Sessions:
A group of students from Teesside University in Middlesbrough were inspired to take action to support people living with dementia in the run up to Christmas.
Dementia Friends Champion Jackie Simms ran a Session for a group of students who then decided to plan and host a Christmas party for people affected by dementia in their community. Jackie said it was a ‘fantastic day’ with over 100 people attending:
‘We had a Christmas Buffet, Bingo, a raffle with lots of prizes, entertainment with songs and dance by the students of the university followed by dancing (for those who had their dancing shoes on – which were quite a few). I can only hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did!’
Dementia Friends Champion Annette Hallas tells us about the impact her Dementia Friends Sessions have had on students at a local school.
‘I attended a Dementia Friends Information Session as part of my induction into the Elderly Care Helpline at Bupa in December 2013, so that we could have a greater understanding and provide greater help to our enquirers. I was then supported through Bupa to become a Dementia Friends Champion and carry out regular Information Sessions to both new and existing employees. Bupa has pledged to ensure that every one of our 32,000 employees has the opportunity to become a Dementia Friend.
Students at Dinnington High School have been taking action to help their school and community become more dementia-friendly.
When Rotherham Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) was set up, the Alliance decided upon a number of different sectors they wanted to work on to become more dementia-friendly. One of these sectors were schools and colleges and Louise Booker-Parkinson, Health & Social Care Lead for Dinnington High School, attended an Alliance meeting. Kathryn Rawling, DAA Co-ordinator, says that Louise ‘completely got it – joined the alliance and set off on a mission!’
This mission involved a range of activity taking place at Dinnington High School to help support people living with dementia. Seven students became young Dementia Friends Champions as part of the pilots run to create under 18 Champions. Those Champions then went on to deliver Information Sessions to other pupils and created over 400 Dementia Friends!
Dementia Friends Champion David Truswell has been involved with the development of the new BAME resources which are now available for Champions to use.
Here David tells us about his experience of using the resources at a recent Session he did for a Chinese audience.
Why I wanted to create Dementia Friends in the Chinese Community
I’ve been in the Steering Group of a Dementia Awareness and Support Project for the Chinese community in London for about 2 years now. The project is run by a voluntary organization, the Chinese National Healthy Living Centre. I became a Dementia Friends Champion earlier this year and hoped to combine both interests!
As part of the A Million Hands partnership between The Scout Association and Alzheimer’s Society, Scout groups can request for Dementia Friends Champions to visit them and deliver a Dementia Friends Information Session.
Dementia Friends Champion Judith Stockton tells us why her Scouts Sessions were some of the most enjoyable Sessions she has run.
An Alzheimer’s Society dementia support worker has decided to take on the world, in raising awareness about dementia! One of our experienced Dementia Friends ChampionClem Morley delivered a Dementia Friends session for staff at the British Embassy in Paris (whilst on holiday!) on June 26th. Curious as ever we wanted to know how it all went for her, so down below is a brief from the lady herself, on her time in Paris.
“When I first became a Dementia Friends Champion, the idea of leading a Session was quite a daunting concept. I decided to trial it on forgiving family and friends at home in London. We managed to cram 16 people into our living room. All huddled on the sofas and floor eagerly awaiting becoming Dementia Friends. The Information Session went really well and the response was very encouraging. Lots of people mentioned how beneficial they felt the Session would be for friends, family, colleagues, with lots of enthusiastic and proactive actions being discussed.”