Almost 40 people benefitted from two Dementia Awareness Skills Workshops which took place last month in the Clogher Valley area to mark Dementia Awareness Week (14 – 20 May).
The workshops, which were delivered by the Alzheimer’s Society and funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA), took place on 16 and 25 May and were organised in partnership between the Alzheimer’s Society, Mid Ulster District Council, Closing the Gap, and the Southern Health & Social Care Trust (SHSCT) as part of a programme of activity to help create age-friendly communities and to establish Fivemiletown and Clogher as Good Neighbourhoods for Ageing Well.
Participants, including representatives from the business sector, service providers, community groups, carers and other interested individuals, gained a powerful insight into how dementia is experienced and the impact dementia has on everyday life enabling them to be better prepared to identify vulnerable customers and understand their needs. The workshops helped ensure that people with dementia feel understood, valued and able to contribute to their community.
Feedback from participants after the training was extremely positive with one commenting, “this workshop should be included as essential training for anyone dealing with the public”, while another added that the workshops were an “excellent training opportunity”.
The Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Kim Ashton praised the pro-active workshops saying, “Understanding dementia and how it affects a person can build confidence in our ability to identify, communicate with, and relate to people living with the condition. Even small changes in attitudes and behaviour can make a big difference to a person with dementia.
“By creating these dementia-friendly communities within our own district and further afield, we are proactively making daily living and activities easier and more accessible for people living with dementia.”
Colette Rogers, the PHA’s Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement (southern area) congratulated the participants who took part in the workshops saying:
“The PHA and Health and Social Care Board #STILLME campaign was launched last September to raise awareness of the signs of dementia, and to reduce stigma and fear about the condition.
“The campaign features local people living with a dementia talking about how their condition affects them. The campaign is one element of the Delivering Social Change Dementia Signature Project which was developed to transform the commissioning, design and delivery of dementia services for people in Northern Ireland and to improve the quality of care and support for people living with dementia.
“It is our hope that through this and other workshops, such as the Dementia Awareness Skills Workshop, that people in Northern Ireland will know more about dementia and be more understanding and supportive of people living with a dementia.”
Heather Lundy, Alzheimer’s Society added, “Understanding dementia is vital if we are to support the 20,000 people in Northern Ireland living with a form of dementia. Dementia doesn’t discriminate, every three minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed, but while there is no cure, people can and do live well with the condition. By learning about dementia and understanding the many ways it can affect people, the community can be a supportive and welcoming place.”
The Alzheimer’s Society is here for anyone affected by dementia and there are lots of ways they can help. Call your local office in Dungannon on 028 8775 3812 or the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 or visit www.alzheimers.org.uk.
For more information on dementia see www.nidirect.gov.uk/dementia.