Getting involved

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 Lonsdales 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.

A vintage cake stand

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.

🙂

 

Dementia Action Week – taking part day 1

It is a busy and exciting week, this week.   Dementia Action is all about getting communities to pledge some action towards helping people living with dementia to be inclusive in the community.

Today Monday 21st May 2018, our first day locall; Cineworld in Dalton Park, County Durham had a dementia friendly showing of The Greatest Showman.   Which was a brilliant film I might add; the music was wonderful, and all the people I asked as they were leaving enjoyed it immensely.   The music was memorable and definitely worth being played in any care home for their residence to enjoy!

So what changes did they have to make for a dementia friendly film showing?  

Lighting:  Well, they left a minimal amount of lighting on during the film.  This didn’t make any difference to the quality of watching the film, in fact I didn’t really notice it, but it was comfortable if you needed to visit the toilet during the film.  Also for people with dementia it meant that there was not a scary blackness around you.

Sound:  The sound was lowered to an acceptable level.  All too frequent the sound in a cinema can be so loud that it is quite traumatic for people with dementia, and also for people with any autistic spectrum.   It was not so low you couldn’t hear what was being said, but was comfortable and loud enough for the singing to wonderfully uplifting.  Music is so important to people living with dementia, they may not speak, or appear to respond but give us wonderful musical and you can reach parts that you never knew were still excited by such sounds.

Time:  the film did not start until everybody was ready, seated comfortably and happy for it to start.  No, this did not really take long at all, and we all waved to the guy in the box at the back running the film:  and he gave his thumbs up – what a perfectly British acknowledgement that there is someone working in the back!

Being Comfortable:  Being a dementia friendly showing, it was fine if anyone wanted to  talk during the film,  Maybe they were remembering a time when they sang or danced and wanted to talk about it to whomever they were with.  It was fine for them to do so.

In the foyer some of the ladies asked for tea, not fizzy and popcorn but a nice cup of tea!

At present the floor in the foyer is a very shiny sparkly black polished granite type of flooring and there are several red florescent strip lighting overhead, which is supposed to reflect on the black…. heck I felt I was on a rolling boat as the red reflections appear to roll along as you walk.  Very show biz!! but not very dementia friendly.  However, they will be rolling out a red carpet along the floor, I presume for days when they are showing dementia friendly films.  Who on earth are these architects with their heads in the clouds or worse…

Cineworld at Dalton Park has really tried hard to accommodate all the people living with dementia and the manager must be commended for being so accommodating.  Hopefully this can be a once a month event for all people with disabilities and dementia.

I got to say a few words and was so pleased to see so many people with dementia enjoying this wonderful film.

So, this was my first day in supporting dementia friendly events in my new local community, and one which is one that is becoming more dementia friendly.

Tomorrow is another event….

Gill x