Spreading awareness of dementia
More than 140 staff at Newark and Sherwood District have become Dementia Friends to help promote understanding of the illness.
Both frontline and back-office staff have joined the social action movement which aims to widen awareness and recognise the small things we can all do to make a difference to people living with the condition in their community.
The council has its own Dementia Friends Champion, Beverley McMillan, who has been running information sessions, with those attending becoming a Dementia Friend. This is part of the council’s pledge to the Dementia Action Alliance. Champions have been going out into their communities or organising sessions in workplaces to spread the message. Beverley, a council housing support worker, said: "Our aim is that most of our frontline staff are dementia aware so that the needs of those with dementia are taken into consideration by all departments.
"We have been holding sessions across the council. For example, with our waste management operatives, street cleaning staff and inspectors who meet people on a daily basis as we believe that by having an understanding of dementia will really benefit the community.
"As part of our pledge to the Dementia Action Alliance we would also like local businesses and groups to become Dementia Friendly." The council has worked closely with Newark Dementia Carers’ group to help support and develop the activities it offers its members.
The group, which was formed last year and is chaired by Ken Daubney, offers a respite from the social isolation felt by carers looking after someone suffering from the illness. It meets on the last Tuesday of every month, from 10am-12noon, at Flowserve Works Sports and Social Club, Balderton.
People with dementia get by with a little help from their friends. And anybody can become a Dementia Friend. It’s just about understanding a bit more about dementia and the small things you can do to help people with the condition.
Dementia Friends is an Alzheimer’s Society led initiative, funded by the Department of Health and Cabinet Office. It aims to increase dementia awareness and change the way the nation thinks, talks and acts about dementia.
People with dementia want to carry on going about their daily lives and feeling included in their local community, but they sometimes need a helping hand to do so. Dementia Friends learn a little bit about what it's like to live with dementia and turns that understanding into action. This could be helping someone find the right bus or being patient in a till queue if someone with dementia is taking longer to pay. Every action counts.
Staff awareness training
Over 100 members of council staff and councillors have undertaken dementia awareness training so far, and this is an on-going programme for us.
A council Dementia Friend is someone who has attended a one hour information session and has committed to an action that will make the lives of people living with dementia a little bit better.
Anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend and every action counts - from helping someone to find the right bus to spreading the word about dementia on social media.