Helping our residents and staff to become even more dementia-friendly
To coincide with Dementia Action Week, and as part of our ongoing commitment to supporting diversity and inclusion, we’ve recently been holding staff training and community awareness sessions about dementia. Dementia is a progressive disease of the brain which causes confusion, loss of inhibition, communication problems and changes in behaviour, and can be challenging to experience, as someone with the disease or as a loved one of someone with dementia.
We know that people with dementia are able to live fulfilling lives (with some necessary adaptations), especially if they have support from the people around them. Whether in public, in their community or in their family, we want to help bring this support to people’s daily lives wherever we can.
This month, we held three ‘Dementia Friends’ sessions for our tenants and other residents in Watford. The sessions were run by Dementia Friends, who volunteer on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Society, and were open to anyone who wished to learn more about how dementia affects people’s lives, and how to seek support and help those living with it. Activities and information focused on busting the myths that surround dementia, and looking at how small actions for those with dementia can make a big difference. There was even dementia bingo!
We know that lots of our staff – especially the teams who work in our Independent Living and Flexicare schemes – come into contact with many residents who have had their lives impacted by dementia. To ensure that our staff always know how best to support our tenants, whether it’s with advice, functional changes to environment or just understanding what someone is going through, we asked a specialist from the Alzheimer’s Society to come and deliver some training to our staff. The training focused on how to identify and manage dementia in all its forms, whether it’s in a conversation over the phone or a daily routine in one of our schemes.
Colette Coakley, Community Engagement Officer for Watford Community Housing, who has organised events across Dementia Action Week, said: “It’s so important for us to help tackle this challenging and emotionally sensitive subject. The effects of dementia on our residents are varied, but by teaching our staff and community about how they can help to understand and aid those with dementia, we can do our bit to help manage this disease.
“I’d like to thank all the wonderful volunteers who helped with our sessions, and everyone who came along with such a willingness to learn how to help others.”
If you’d like to find out more about how you can help people with dementia, visit the Alzheimer’s Society at: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/