Dementia Friends: Making the community dementia friendly

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Helen Morris

Dementia Friends Champion Helen Morris offers some thoughts on being dementia friendly

LET ME start with some really good news – due to the excellent work of our marvelous Dementia Friendly Uppermill volunteers we now have 21 businesses and services signed up to becoming Dementia Friendly.

So whether visiting or living in the area, you can start looking out for the window signage and looking forward to a better informed customer care.

At a conference recently, a person with dementia asked ‘What is dementia friendly?’ The panel came up with different answers depending on their organizational slant, some based within a strict framework and others describing evidence of poor awareness.

In fact it will be different for each person with dementia because dementia affects each person in different ways. This can make it daunting for a business wanting to do the right thing, even provided with guidance and support.

What I hear most though is if customer-facing staff could just give people time to think and speak then they will be half way there.

Just considering the other person might be battling with a moment of confusion can be all it needs to make the difference to someone’s day. Impatience and dismissal are the most common and hurtful things people can do.

We now have churches, shops, gardening services and vets amongst others, all working to become dementia friendly so ‘thank you’ to them and let’s hope we get even more in the coming year.

Meanwhile I will be holding some open Dementia Friends sessions soon in Uppermill so if you would like to join us please call me on 07976 702171 for details.

 

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