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What makes a dementia-friendly community?

PostPosted: 21 Jun 2017, 18:28
by chenrezig ... -community

What makes a dementia-friendly community?

We found that the phrase “dementia-friendly communities” (DFCs) means different things to different people; the word dementia is not used in some countries and others consider the word friendly to be patronising. Finding a definition that takes into account all of the views was not easy, but on reflection we propose: In a DFC, people with dementia are included and respected. Citizens, organisations and businesses work together to remove the barriers that stop people with dementia and their supporters from participating in community life.
Steve Milton, director, Innovations in Dementia

In our evaluation, the definitions people living with dementia suggested included: Where everyone has some consideration and knowledge to help people with dementia feel comfortable and not afraid to go out. A community that’s making an effort to be conscious about dementia and make people aware.
Juliet Bligh, principal consultant, Institute of Public Care

Understanding dementia is important. Giving people time, not finishing their sentences, calling people by their name rather than “dear” all show respect.
Nigel Franklin, chief executive, Arts 4 Dementia

Do dementia-friendly communities have to grow from the grassroots, or can they be fostered by national government or organisations?

Being dementia-friendly isn’t a top-down or one-size-fits-all sort of thing. I’ve come to the conclusion that, because of its person-centred nature, it inevitably involves small groups. It only grows through these groups sharing ideas and best practice, and networking.
Nigel Hullah, person with dementia and policy thinktank member

What’s the best way of ensuring people with dementia and their carers are part of the conversation on dementia-friendly communities?

Pull together a group of people with dementia and carers to talk about what life is like where they live: What do they like to do? What would they like to do or have stopped doing and why? What are the barriers and opportunities? That way you not only put people’s needs and aspirations at the front, but you have somewhere to start.
Steve Milton

How can members of the public learn to recognise the signs of dementia? What role should individual citizens play in DFCs?

Dementia Friends sessions are a great way for people to learn about dementia and what they can do to help which, for me, is more important than recognising signs – not least because the way dementia affects people varies hugely. Steve Milton

I believe that if we treat everyone with respect and patience we will help those people with dementia by default. It’s not always about recognising a specific condition. For the public, it is about understanding that people living with dementia need a little more time.
Louise Marks, dementia policy & development officer, Carers Trust

Sometimes people’s fear of communicating ineffectively can really impact on them and cause them to hold back [when talking to people with dementia]. We offer a unit on communication that can help people to develop their understanding.
Vicky Cockerill, academic lead for nursing and mental health, University of Derby Online Learning
What policies could governments introduce to help enable the creation of dementia-friendly communities?

I’m not sure how much you can legislate for or do at government level. Publicity for dementia-friendly initiatives helps. How would one find a listing of local dementia-friendly services, for example?
Nigel Franklin

The most important thing is a good amount of rest and recreation for carers so we don’t fall sick too. Strategies for coping, particularly correct communication methods, should be more widely promoted – both in homecare and care in the community.
Jane Moore, co-founder, The Purple Angel

What changes should social care sector workers make in their approach to working with people with dementia and their families?

By asking us not what you can do for us, but how we can work together, by engaging with us and recognising us as contributing members of society. Can we truly say we are a dementia-friendly society without empowering people living with dementia and their friends and supporters?
Nigel Hullah

There is still a lot of stigma and misinformation, even from health and social care professionals. Supporting this group with Dementia Friends information sessions does help by giving simple and practical information to start the education process.
Suzanne Mumford, principal consultant, Care Prepared

Social care workers can best support DFCs by taking a strengths-based approach and working with people as individuals. This seems very basic, I know, but too much social care is still stuck in fitting the people around the services rather than visa versa. That’s just my take: I would always default to asking people with dementia what they want.
Steve Milton

How can those who care for people with dementia be better supported?

It is vital to understand the needs of carers if we are to make the community dementia-friendly. In a recent survey by the Carers Trust, more than 80% of older carers said they felt lonely and isolated and that this was having a direct impact on their health. Carers are also neglecting their own health, finding it difficult to get to appointments. DFCs could bring services closer to home, and help neighbours and GPs understand that the carer needs support to attend. For a carer’s view on caring for someone with dementia please read this report (pdf).

Louise Marks

How can communities engage with large companies to be dementia-friendly?

I would recommend starting at a local level, your local store manager has the ability to implement initiatives and will also be able to let you know whether they are already implementing any initiatives that have come from a head office level. Vicky Cockerill

If they had something to display – a certificate or a plaque – it would help. It’s also good to speak to them about keeping people with dementia in work for as long as possible. If people with dementia are present in the workplace, it will help organisations understand the importance.
Louise Marks

I have seen very few supermarkets adopt the “relaxed lane”. It’s such a great idea and could be supported with a staff member who is a dementia friend to support people as they journey around a store. Better signposting may also help: people don’t always look up to find the contents of an aisle, so clear signage with pictures at the ends of aisles may be of more help.
Suzanne Mumford

What can we learn from those places that already have dementia-friendly status?

After the initial contact, revisiting every year is vital. New staff, new shops. Stores in rural communities cannot be expected to put their money into big changes in-store but much can be done by giving more awareness each year and building on the community spirit. Involving young people is vital. Getting everyone on side – and not just only once – makes a sustainable community and one with growing empathy (not sympathy) for people with dementia and their family and care partners. We also learn that there are many silent people who really need someone to talk to, whether they are members of the public, staff in shops, children who have caring responsibilities. Being able to talk face-to-face with people brings surprising results and helps many feel included and valued.

Jane Moore

Re: What makes a dementia-friendly community?

PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 14:30
by wendy