Category Archives: Guest Blogs

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.

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‘The unexpected outcome of working on dementia with my Scouts’

Carole Dudley, Scout leader of the Blacklands Scouts, Malling District, tells us how getting her Scout group involved with the A Million Hands project and focussing on dementia had a real impact on her own life and career:

‘As a Scout leader with the Blacklands Scouts in East Malling, I was really excited to get my group started with the A Million Hands partnership. So we took our group camping at Morfa Bay in Wales and showed the Scouts videos for each of the different issues they could choose to focus on. After some discussion, they settled on dementia as their chosen issue.

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Tackling dementia on a global scale

A guest blog from Philippa Tree – Senior International Officer

On the 21-24 April 2016, Alzheimer’s Disease International (an international federation of Alzheimer associations) held a conference in Budapest which brought together Alzheimer Associations, people living with dementia, researchers and many more people from across the world.

I was fortunate to attend this conference and to begin sharing Dementia Friends learning and best practices with countries worldwide. Continue reading

Dementia Friends goes global – having an impact in Nigeria

Dementia Friends Nigeria recently launched with the help and support of Alzheimer’s Society in the UK. Here Kiki, founder of Dementia Friends Nigeria and Rossetti Care Ltd, tells us more about the impact the programme is having in Nigeria and how Alzheimer’s Society is helping countries around the world to launch Dementia Friends.

She knelt down, sobbing uncontrollably and muttering, “Please, God forgive me! Baba, please forgive me, please help me, I did not know, I did not understand…..”!

That was a month ago, and this is her story:

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Amplifying the voices of people with dementia

Paul Myles at On The Radar tells us how they are giving people living with dementia a voice with the Dementia Diaries project.

This wasn’t a typical social media campaign, or a typical advent calendar for that matter. In December 2015 we teamed up with Dementia Friends to bring you Door Into Dementia, a digital advent calendar featuring 24 stories from our Dementia Diaries project. Each day throughout the advent period, we featured stories from our Dementia Diarists who opened a door into their worlds and gave us a unique insight into day-to-day life for people living with the condition.

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‘Passion can effect change’ – A guest blog from Gina Awad

Dementia Friends Champion Gina Awad tells us about the incredible amount of work she has been doing in the past year to make her area more dementia-friendly.

What a difference a year makes !

This time last year I was a Dementia Friends Champion, I still am, although things have progressed beyond belief. I had a vision in November 2014 to create a local Dementia Action Alliance, that vision is now a reality. Over 30 local organisations have committed to an action plan to implement change, support, and generally raise awareness working towards a Dementia Friendly Exeter.

People ask me “how have you achieved what you have?” My response is passion, determination, drive, oh and a dash of persistence, well a little more than a dash maybe!

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Guest blog: Champion Annette Hallas on her Sessions for young people

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.

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Making Dementia Friends in the Chinese Community

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!

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Guest blog: A dementia-friendly theatre performance

Nicky Taylor, Community Development Manager at West Yorkshire Playhouse and Dementia Friends Champion, tells us about the dementia-friendly performance they recently ran at the Leeds theatre.

Going to the theatre is an experience many of us look forward to. In my role as Community Development Manager at West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds I have seen the profound impact a visit to the theatre can have on people living with dementia and their families. For the past 5 years I’ve been leading creative activities for people with a diagnosis of dementia and through these participatory projects I have supported many people living with dementia to see theatre shows. Starting with preparatory themed workshops, we also explore the set and costumes and meet the actors, to enhance their theatre experience.

A pre-show singing session where attendees learnt songs from the musical together. Those attending the dementia-friendly performance were encouraged to sing along during the show if they wished.

The positive responses I noticed in terms of concentration, communication, creative expression and laughter convinced me that a dementia-friendly performance was the natural next step. In early 2014 at West Yorkshire Playhouse, we started to explore what a performance of this nature might entail, consulting with people living with dementia and those who support them. How might individual experiences of dementia challenge us to re-think sound and lighting cues, or the actors’ performances? What is it like to arrive at our venue if you have issues with visuospatial perception? How could we make adaptations to support people who find it difficult to be in a busy environment? And how could we convince people to leave the house if they haven’t attempted to in months?

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