PPG VIRTUAL TALK ON DEMENTIA FRIENDS 19 MAY 2021 BY CARL ROBERTS
The Patient Participation Group from the Billericay Medical Practice asked Carl to give a talk during Dementia Awareness week. About twelve people took part virtually from the Practice and others who were interested from Practices in Billericay Carl is a dementia champion, and the founder of Billericay Dementia Action Alliance, which brought the Billericay Community together to make Billericay as dementia friendly as possible. The town shops had displays in their windows during the week with the colour theme blue to recognise this special week. Our Practice also has some of its staff already trained to be dementia friendly.
Over the last year in Billericay support organisations are more accessible, and also the railway station. Schools have won an award. Basildon and Brentwood have also launched a dementia friendly campaign, most of Essex has been covered, and it has been used as an example across the country.
The Session started with interaction between Carl and those taking part with questions to be answered, leading to better understanding of dementia.
Anyone can develop dementia. It is caused by disease of the brain. Alzheimers is just one of the diseases under the umbrella of dementia. With Alzheimers plaque builds up on brain cells and progresses over time. Vascular dementia is caused by lack of oxygen to the brain and also progresses over time.
It is not just a question of losing your memory, it can also be loss of balance, speech, carrying out everyday tasks, hearing and sight, communication, sequencing, changes in inhibition and senses. For example mats on the floor similar in colour to the floor are better than distinctive colours which look like holes to someone with dementia.
Can you live well with dementia? The answer is yes but depends on decline over time. Is there more to a person than dementia? Yes.
One example of loss of memory was a bookcase which represents memories with the recent ones at the top and the bottom childhood memories, and the most recent ones go first. Biographical memory goes first, and emotional memory will last longer. Another example of carrying out daily tasks was to list the number of actions taken to make a cup of tea and it is really complicated.
The session finished with information on what action we could take which included keeping in touch, fundraising, volunteering, signing up for campaigns, becoming a Dementia Friend – there is a badge. For businesses help could be having a shopping hour, remove black mats, signage in and out, websites, hold dementia friendly events, join local Dementia Action Alliance in your area.
More information can be found on the website dementiafriends.org.uk/livestream. Support can be obtained from the Alzheimers Society and the website is https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/dementiaconnect.
Mark Nevill is the co-ordinator for Essex and can provide information.
Billericay Dementia Action Alliance.
The surgery is pleased to announce that it has recently joined the Billericay Dementia Action Alliance.
The Billericay Dementia Alliance is a group of businesses and community groups who have come together to make Billericay truly Dementia Friendly.
A dementia-friendly community is a city, town or village where people with dementia are understood, respected and supported.
Dementia-friendly communities are vital in helping people live well with dementia and remain a part of their community.
Too many people affected by dementia feel society fails to understand the condition they live with, its impact or how to interact with them. That’s why people with dementia sometimes feel they need to withdraw from their community as the condition progresses.
Dementia is one of the greatest challenges facing our ageing society. Public awareness of dementia is high. However understanding is still very poor.
It is the aim of the Billericay Dementia Alliance to make the lives of those people in our town who are living with dementia and their carers better. By encouraging all areas of the community to make simple changes we hope to remove the difficulties being experienced in everyday life by people with dementia and their carers.
Further information about the Billericay Dementia Action Alliance.
can be found on https://www.facebook.com/BillericayDAA/
The receptionist and administration staff at the surgery has had training by the Billericay Dementia Action Alliance to become a Dementia Friend with one member of staff being appointed as the Dementia Champion for the practice.
Information in how to become a Dementia Friend can be found on the Alzheimer’s Society website. https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/