Dementia Awareness Week 2017
Posted on 24 May 2017
14-20th May was Dementia Awareness Week in the UK and was a great opportunity for Book of You to reach people who can benefit from the work we do. And also a chance for me to attend events in Anglesey to find people and volunteers for our latest project.
Monday and Tuesday saw us over in Llanrwst and Corwen Libraries giving a talk to people about Book of You. It’s important to keep us at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to dementia. There is currently no cure, but research has shown (and continues to show) how powerful reminiscence and life story work can be for this group. Concentrating on enjoying the memories that are still there (usually older ones) can be fascinating and help people live well with dementia. Even family members can learn new things about their spouse’s or parent’s life. And they often say how important it has been to actually ‘get it down’ in a Book of You (whether it be written or spoken) before those memories are lost forever. And of course they can pass it down to future generations too. The person with dementia’s self-esteem is often raised as they talk about things that make them proud, such as their achievements when they were younger. The Book of You volunteer can draw out information, find pictures to illustrate their story and share in the enjoyment. It can be a lesson in social history too as service user and volunteer learn from each other.
Quite often people say “Oh yes, I’ve heard about you” but perhaps they don’t know quite what it is that we do. Social Media attracts interest and explains a lot, but many people who would benefit from what we do, never use it. So we always find that getting out there and actually talking to people is the best way.
Tuesday afternoon saw a quick dash over from Corwen Library in the morning to Abergele in the afternoon for the Abergele Community Party, where the whole community was invited to a celebration day at Canolfan Dewi Sant in Pensarn. This event was to bring people together to have fun and meet the driving force behind the Abergele Steering Group who’ve been set up to help Abergele become Dementia Friendly. There were refreshments, live entertainment and a raffle and everyone, whether living with dementia or not, seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Wednesday saw a trip over to Connah’s Quay Civic Hall for their Dementia Awareness Week event, and on Thursday we had a table at Llangefni Town Hall – to talk to people about Book of You generally, but also to let people know about our latest project which has been funded by Horizon Nuclear Power. Horizon have funded 10 places for people with dementia and their carers to receive a free Book of You each and also for us to find and train volunteers to help us run this.
At the start of the week, we had 300 leaflets printed and these, along with Book of You folders etc, were nearly gone by Friday, which is a great success. We found a lot of interest generally and also some very helpful people and agencies who offered to spread the word for us.
Friday was a day back at the office, collating all we had and preparing to get in touch with everyone we we had spoken to during the week. We are already getting some positive responses from those who want to take part in either the Horizon project, or in other things we have running.
Alzheimer’s Society’s tagline this year was “Let’s Unite For Dementia” and it certainly seems that we were part of that. Aside from our Book of You work, one member of staff has answered the call to give a Dementia Friends Awareness session this week to a large group in St Asaph. But every three minutes, another person in the UK will develop dementia. And sadly so many of facing it alone. So although Dementia Awareness Week is over, none of us can stand still. Whether you become a Dementia Friend, take part in Dementia Research, make a donation or build a Book of You with a loved one (or volunteer) we can all play a part in making a difference.
Further Blogs - Anglesey Volunteers Wanted To Become Reminiscence Friends »