DVSC’s Dementia Aware Network Event – 22nd May 2019
Posted on 30 May 2019
DVSC‘s Dementia Aware Network Event on 22nd May, held at Eirianfa Community Centre in Denbigh, was the launch of Dementia Aware Denbighshire. It was very well attended with a range of Denbighshire businesses and residents, some with dementia and some caring for those living with dementia, who are all very keen to ensure that our county is fully dementia aware, sharing ideas, best practice and, most importantly, listening to those living with dementia themselves so we can all learn how to improve our services, showing that even small changes can make a big difference.
There was much lively engagement throughout the day with businesses looking at ways to work in partnership and also within workshops, looking not only at what is currently available and who had attended, but also who we would have liked to have seen there and considering barriers to becoming dementia aware and thinking of ways to overcome them.
Throughout the day, we heard from many diverse speakers: Ruth Ely, Vice-Chair of Life Story Network and TIDE who fed back on the results of the community mapping exercise for DVSC, Beth Taylor, Chair of the Board of Trustees at DVSC and some of the grant award winners – Dilwyn Jones, Chair of Dementia Friendly Denbigh, Alison Price CEO of Age Connects North Wales Central and Peter Harrison who set up and runs Artisans Collective in Prestatyn amongst many other things. Unfortunately our guest speaker living with dementia, Teresa Davies, was unable to attend, but we showed a film of her when she featured in the BBC4 series The NHS at 70 last year. And Helen Wilkinson, CEO of DVSC, read extracts from Wendy Mitchell’s excellent book, Somebody I Used to Know, which is a brutally honest and insightful book about what it’s like to actually like to live with dementia every day.
We are of course aware that Alzheimer’s Society do fantastic work in many ways and they are giving their support to this programme. As a Dementia Friends Champion of quite a few years, I was pleased to be able to run a Dementia Friends Awareness Session following the event and many businesses came up and spoke to me asking to have these sessions run for their staff and workplaces. My session benefited greatly by having Suzy Buck in attendance. Although Suzy doesn’t have an official diagnosis as yet, she could speak passionately about how being ‘dementia aware’ can make such a difference to her life and those like her. She explained how even simple things like shopping in a supermarket can be stressful, confusing and upsetting. Small changes, such as removing a black mat from inside the front door which can look like a hole to someone living with dementia, can make it more manageable.
Starting off on the journey with Alzheimer’s Society to become a Dementia Friendly town or business is important, however the overriding message that we all took home from this event was that everybody, from individuals to small shops, to large businesses, can make a difference without investing much time or any money, by simply becoming more dementia aware. No business is too small, and indeed the film that Book of You has commissioned with the money provided by DVSC’s grant, shows exactly that. It’s about looking after those in your community. Having empathy and understanding. And if you look after those with dementia, you look after everyone in your community. As DVSC has stated we can all lead the way… even a journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step.
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