So, an update of being involved in Dementia action.
I am loving my new community, and who knew that the North East of England was so pro-active towards becoming Dementia friendly. Not just pro-active but mega pro-active and I am loving being able to join and be part of it.
I have been very much welcomed by all I meet, and am excited for my future here to be able to be so involved.
Sunderland and Durham Heritage Coast: I have already been to Crimdon Beach (which is absolutely beautiful and an important area for wildlife especially the Little Tern which come to breed there. I have agreed (without any hesitation) to work with them helping make this part of the East Coast dementia friendly.
East Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP) – I accompanied Belinda from the Alzheimer’s Society to a meeting where she did a presentation about the progression of dementia friendly East Durham. I spoke about having moved to the area and how I was struck by the real sense of northern community and how it was important to encourage families caring for people with dementia to continue to make life as normal as possible and visit all of the places that are working hard to become dementia friendly.
Last week I visited Horden Welfare Park Vintage Cafe.
This park has history to it and the park itself is a real gem to visit. Originally paid for by the miners in the 1920’s it has one of Ray Lonsdale‘s scultures called ‘Marra’ and depicts a miner after the pits were closed with his heart ripped out. The cafe which is inside the park, put on afternoon tea and a walk around the park with a talk of its history. Staffed by volunteers it is delightful, china teapots, cups and saucers, plates and delicious cakes and sandwiches on vintage cake stands.
Me, being gluten free and not letting them know before hand, wasn’t able to eat any, however, they made me a salad not taking no for an answer! How lovely of them and it was delicious too.
Upstairs they have created a small museum of Horden which is absolutely fascinating. They have created a couple of rooms with furniture showing life in the miners cottages. And the photograph collection they have is immense.
These are the local places which are making real efforts to become dementia friendly and will become a superb place for afternoon tea and a walk.
As I am working with these groups and getting to know the area the more I see how much there is to educate the community of families who have always cared for each other. It is so easier for a family to do everything for someone and in that way they lose their independence and in a sense, their self. Education about how important it is to continue to help a person living with dementia to keep doing as much as they can has to be the way to improve dementia friendly communities. Take the person out for an afternoon locally many places and cafes are dementia friendly and a walk a cup of tea can brighten up everybody. Find groups that someone with dementia can go to independently so that they get the chance to do things for themselves.
I think at some point I will give my take on carers another time and how helping their people to join more things and get out and about can actually help them as well.
Remember, as always these are my own thoughts and opinions.