As part of Dementia Awareness Week, the local Dementia Alliance held an event at Dover Town Council for local businesses and organisations with Liz Taylor, Services Manager at East Kent Alzheimer’s Society
Over 40 people attended with a good number of organisations and businesses represented. Liz spoke about the need for businesses to recognise what a vital role they can play by making their business Dementia Friendly. Small improvements might include better signage, lighting and even changing the colour of mats at entrances (as black mats can give the impression there is a hole to those with dementia). With the retirement age increasing, employees may develop dementia so employers need to be aware of good practice to enable people to continue to be able to work – and Liz explained how a branch of a national supermarket had taken action on this. As our population ages employers also need to be aware that employees may have caring responsibilities and make adjustments to manage the pressures that this can bring.
Businesses can sign up to display the recognition symbol “Working Towards Being Dementia Friendly”.
Locally we have organisations taking this issue seriously, Dover Transport Museum are using their facilities to play a very useful role in helping people with Dementia. In St Margaret’s Bay the Bay Trust Tea rooms are developing a Memory Café.
Dawn Maddison of the smART Project (who provide weekly drop in Art based sessions) tried on the Age Simulation suit which gives the effects of aging and her comments were:
Everyone should try this suit- it made me realise how frightening it is to have impaired movement, restricted vision and poor hearing which make everyday tasks challenging. Walking 10 metres and pouring a glass of water turned into a major feat!
Some of the other groups present spoke briefly about the work they do in relation to Dementia – Big Local Stitching group spoke about making “twiddle muffs” and the blue dementia badge and Dawn Hyde spoke about the Live It Library which features people showing how you can live well with Dementia. Ted Smith told the meeting about how volunteers from the Dover White Cliffs Branch of the Royal British Legion visit veterans in the community and talk with them about past experiences. Nigel Callaghan spoke about the Wet Wheels Project which is based at the Dover Sea -Sports Centre (as part of Sea Safari), who have a fully accessible 12-seater motor boat that can take passengers with disabilities on pre-arranged trips.
A Dementia Friends Training session sharing more information then took place. Locally the Alliance is very keen to continue to work with the community by increasing the number of Dementia Friends and awareness of the condition.
The local Dementia Alliance will be meeting in June and if anyone is interested in being involved or wants to know more about how their business or organisation can work towards becoming Dementia Friendly please contact 07772 471905.
This is all part of making Dover Dementia Friendly
Our picture shows participants at the event in the Dover Town Council Chamber