A few weeks ago we told you about Angela Clayton-Turner who, we believed, was the first of our Dementia Friends Champions to run a Friends’ information session. We caught up with Angela again to see how it had gone.
She had set herself quite a challenge – her first session was for 10 firefighters in Bromley, in a packed room, while all of them were on call!
“Overall the information session went well but it has also made me think about the things that I could do better. I am not experienced as a facilitator so the penny and cup of tea exercises I was given at my Champions’ training were great learning experiences for me. They help people think about what life is like for people with dementia.
“However, I need to think more about my audience and where the session is being held beforehand. For example, the room was very small and the firemen were close to each other and full of fun, which meant that they were copying each other during the penny exercise! Nevertheless they did get the learning about feelings. I needed to have asked them about their experience of dementia at the beginning though.
“One young fireman came up to me afterwards and said that he hadn’t thought the session would be relevant to him and his job but now he saw that it was. Another fed back that he hadn’t understood about the illness before and thought it was totally debilitating and now realised that people with dementia could do a lot for themselves.
“However, there was some disagreement too. One wanted more examples of my experience with my husband but another wanted less personal and more general examples. Another firefighter would have liked some guidance on spotting symptoms.
“I was generally happy with how things went. We were interrupted by a ‘shout’ but it came towards the end and only half the firefighters had to go.”
We are very grateful to Angela for telling us about how her Friends’ information session went and look forward to reading more of your stories (post them on Facebook or send them to us directly).