Dementia is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer. But awareness and understanding remains low and many families are facing it alone.
People with dementia and their carers talk about the everyday challenges they face in living well with dementia. Although help from health and care services is vitally important, making it possible for people affected by dementia to live well will require help from people and organisations in their communities.
“That is where we come in” says Gina Awad of the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance (EDAA) and Phonic FM. “EDAA is a group of passionate people working towards creating an inclusive community for people living with dementia and their care partners. Our 56 members help us do exactly that by considering the small changes they can make in their service provision by creating a 3 point action plan. Some of those actions include:
- Educating the staff to learn more about dementia by holding a Dementia Friends information session and wearing their badge acknowledging they are a Dementia Friend. Dementia Friends is the nation’s biggest ever call to action on dementia with almost 2 million people being Dementia Friends
- A staff member training as a Dementia Friends Champion to enable the Dementia Friends session to be included in their induction programmes as well as having access to wealth of resources
- Extended and timely dental, optometrist and GP appointments – this helps the person living with dementia and their care partner not to feel rushed or pressured
- Consideration of signage – to assist with orientation and way finding
- Awareness raising events, activities and hosting meetings
- Joining in the with the ‘Words Matter’ Dementia Engagement and Empowerment project (DEEP) campaign ‘People with dementia urge you to be thoughtful about your choice of words when talking about what it is like to live with dementia. Any evocative words should be chosen with intent and careful consideration of the message that will actually be received and the impact it may have on people with dementia themselves’
Barrie Carless has been living with dementia since 2013 and says “we first became aware of EDAA when Gina attended one of our dementia groups and she introduced us to her vision of Exeter becoming a Dementia Friendly city. We subsequently attended two events that EDAA had organised in collaboration with their members. They have really helped my wife, Sara and I to feel part of the community and enthuse us to share our experiences with others”.
William Flint, Director of Bluebird Care says “we see every day how dementia impacts on the lives of our customers and their families. That is why we support all the work and energy of Gina Awad and the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance, raising awareness of dementia and working towards a Dementia Friendly city is crucial”.
During Dementia awareness week EDAA Gina continues “we will be raising awareness in the following locations across Exeter and wholeheartedly thank our members and supporters in advance for hosting:
Saturday 13 May at Exeter Pride in conjunction with Healthwatch Devon
Monday 15 May at Sainsbury’s, Alphington Road: 10-2pm
Tuesday 16 May at John Lewis – 12-3pm
Tuesday 16 May at Barclays Bank, High Street: throughout the day
Saturday 20 May at Marks & Spencer: 10-1pm
Do pop along and see us at any of the above and say hello.