Dementia Awareness Week

National Dementia Awareness Week takes place across the UK this week, and the public are being urged to try something new as part of the campaign to raise awareness and reduce stigma. Mashamshire Community Library are hosting a drop-in information and advice session on Friday 22nd May from 10-11.30am.

The campaign is led by the Alzheimer’s Society but local people and charities are being urged to get involved. Rural Action Yorkshire, who supports rural communities across Yorkshire, can offer resources on dementia to anyone who may be interested in finding out how to make their community building dementia-friendly. Rural Action Yorkshire (RAY) has developed a Dementia Friendly Toolkit which gives communities a step-by-step guide to becoming more dementia-friendly places to be. These could be village halls, shops, cafes or pubs, and the toolkit features a range of ways this can be achieved, from putting up appropriate signage, to changing the way you think and talk about dementia when you’re out and about. Recently, RAY visited Castle Howard in North Yorkshire where trustee Dawn Clements delivered dementia friendly training to house guides, as part of the charity’s commitment to making buildings across Yorkshire as accessible as possible. Dawn, who is a trained Dementia Champion, went along to deliver a practical session which included exercises and role play that considered the experiences of someone living with dementia, as well as a table discussion on what dementia is. Dawn said: “It’s important we’re considerate about the language we use when talking about people living with dementia. We must always remember that they are people first and not defined by their diagnosis, and so for example we should avoid using terms like ‘victim’ and ‘sufferer.’ “Everyone can get involved by demonstrating patience and kindness in any situation where a person could be showing signs of dementia. This might mean giving someone a little extra time to count their money in the check-out queue, or it could be something more in-depth like changing the signs in your community so that people with a diagnosis can easily find their way if they are having difficulties.”

More information on taking part in RAY’s work or on the Dementia Friendly Toolkit can be found on the website www.ruralyorkshire.org.uk. More resources can be found on the Alzheimer’s Society website: www.alzheimers.org.uk