Information, help and advice

Dementia friendly communities in Torbay

Hiya , i was contaced and asked by a Dr of Psychology from Sheffield University earlier this week what we, here in Torbay think a Dementia friendly community is, and how we are building one here in Torbay, this was my reply which i hope you will find not only interesting but helpful, best wishes, Norrms and family

Even though we have to fundamentally change the way people think and the culture surrounding Dementia it doesn’t have to be to complicated or bogged down with bureaucracy and risk assessment’s . We need to put people on the ground who will approach these businesses and explain to them how simple it really is, this is our approach.

We enter every business armed with three documents only. One is the LOGO of the Torbay Dementia Action Alliance which we have had designed for free. The other`s are two documents, A Guide To Dementia By the Alz soc, , and What Is Dementia, written by myself. . We explain who we are and explain that all we want them to do is to make sure that them and all their staff read the documents, understand them and if there are any questions there are phone numbers to contact for any queries (Alzheimer’s society Hot line and local Alz soc office) we explain that we will call back in two to three weeks, depending on the size of the business and once awareness has been raised amongst all staff they will get a badge to display in their window which states they are “Dementia Aware”

The words “Dementia Aware” is very important as we are certainly not a training consultancy firm nor profess to be so. We are not in the business of Training staff up to level 2,3or 4 in NVQ dementia, that is not their job, but when we explain that i was myself diagnosed with Dementia aged 50 and its not just an age related disease but a Degenerative disease of the brain and could quite possibly happen to anyone at any time, they are always taken aback.

Our aim in Torbay and hopefully UK wide is to create Dementia friendly communities which, in turn, will massively improve all aspects of people lives who are touched by this awful disease. More understating creates compassion and also reduces stigma. We did it thirty years ago with Cancer and more lately with the likes of HIV and heart problems, so there is no reason why we cannot do the same with dementia. We are involving the likes of Banks, supermarkets, local shops,cafes, schools, bus companies, colleges, coach companies, the holiday industry, Hotels, of which we have many here,Estate agencies, hairdressers, barber shops, Bingo halls, social clubs, pubs, Main post office, Cinema`s, theatres and everywhere where people visit during their everyday lives. This can only be done by creating alliances and volunteers willing to do this, but the biggest advantage we will ever have is to include those with early onset Dementia like myself. We can shape the future for people to come and provide better service and hopefully eventually rid this disease of the awful stigma that is attached to it.

Here in Torquay (in itself a huge place and not to be mistaken with TORBAY as this consists of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham) ) we are already on our way in creating the UK`s first ever Dementia Friendly small community as we have support from over 70% of buisnessss in the St Marychurch area of Torquay and 40% of Buisiness of the Babbacombe area of Torquay, we are hoping to completle the 100% in both areas in the coming months !! The beauty of this is there is no real time limit, but the sooner the better as far as we are concerned and we are hoping to be able a Dementia friendly commiunity very soon.

Please let me know your thoughts on this as i would appreciate all feedback
Lots of love, Norrms and family


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