Dementia Friends Champion Helen Morris offers some thoughts on things that make independent life with dementia more difficult.
A LADY I know is living independently with dementia. She manages extremely well in spite of frequently changing buses routes!
She accesses services like supermarket buses and hospital transport but what ‘threw her’ recently was when her hot water and central heating failed overnight.
She called her housing association but was met with a quickly spoken message containing a new number. No matter how many times she rang it, the voicemail was so rapid she could not get the numbers down and could not remember them.
She kept trying and when I rang her she agreed I could drop in and help. It was hard for me to note the number and then when I rang it, it was the wrong number, as the heating had been outsourced to a third party!
We got it sorted but it made me realize that although we want people to keep living in the community, retaining their independence, we then throw these kind of barriers in place, without thinking how hard it is for people like my friend to manage.
I know things have to change but each time someone should think “Is this ‘dementia friendly’ guidance?” and “Could we put in additional support to help people through change?”
What can we all do? I rang the company explaining how hard all this was for a customer with dementia. It was mild but had it been December she could have been in real trouble. They promised to get it changed.
Maybe we could all keep an ear out for this type of system change / rapid-fire voicemail instruction and make a call?
I am always happy to run them for groups in the area. Please call me on 07976 702171 for details.