Dementia Action Week 2019 - what tangible actions will you take?
Starts Monday 20 May nationally and in Lymington
Dementia Action Week is a national week of action to improve the lives of those with dementia
There are 850,000 people in the UK who are affected by dementia - for which there is still no cure. This does not just affect the elderly: 40,000 people in the UK under the age of 65 suffer from early onset dementia. It is believed that by 2051 the number of people who have dementia in the UK will have risen to 2 million (stats from Alzheimer’s Society).
If you want to understand more about the different types of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is by far the most common, this article on the Alzheimer's Society website will help.
Awful loneliness and isolation can descend not only on the person with dementia but also on the “carer” – think of the long term husband or wife who is effectively losing the company of his or her partner and at the same time losing their friends who don’t know what to say or do... so they kind of disappear. Think of the previously happy social life, like the regular bridge sessions, gone - they have to leave as the person with dementia becomes increasingly confused. The kind company of others can become something desperately wished for.
Dementia Action Week 2019 – Ask us Anything!
Previously known as Dementia Awareness Week, Dementia Action Week takes place across the whole country from 20 to 26 May. The goal of Dementia Action Week is to encourage people to do more than just be dementia aware. Everybody is being asked to take tangible “action” to improve the lives of those affected by dementia, with the ultimate aim to create a dementia-friendly UK in which people with dementia do not feel excluded.
In fact, during this Dementia Action Week, Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging everyone to take action by starting a conversation.
Whether it’s calling a relative with dementia or visiting a neighbour, it’s time to start talking.
Use the hashtag #askusanything
Many of us worry about ‘saying the wrong thing' to someone with dementia, yet a friendly face or listening ear can make the world of difference. And as you'll see, especially from the children who seem to know this naturally, there aren't many things you can't ask a person with dementia.
So right now start using the hashtag #askusanything!
A Daily Tangible Action for Dementia Action Week
We are proposing that everybody joins and commits to takes one tangible “action” each day this week to help people with dementia and their carers.
If you follow all or even some of these suggestions, by the end of the week we hope you will have the confidence to start a conversation with somebody who has dementia.
Monday – See how the kids do it!
A child sees the person for who they are. Watch what happens when children interview people with dementia.
Tuesday – Seek information!
Call in at one of the two information points in Lymington especially set up for Dementia Action Week.
These are at Lymington Community Centre (just inside the main entrance) and Lymington Library, with volunteers from the Lymington Dementia Action Group present most mornings and afternoons to answer questions and help you find the information you need.
Or if that won’t work for you please click this link to our newly updated online “Dementia Directory” for Lymington – and think whether you know anybody for whom this list of contacts might be useful.
Wednesday: Watch My Dementia Choir on i-player
Music is incredibly beneficial for many people with dementia, both listening to it and taking part in it. And especially singing! And even more so as part of a group. And more so again with purpose – the performance!
For everybody who's been watching My Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure on TV, the fact that so many younger people also have dementia will have become very apparent.
If you haven't already seen it do watch the two moving episodes of My Dementia Choir:
And also, watch Vicky McClure talking about why the choir
Thursday: Listen to New Forest Hospital Radio
Who has actually listened to New Forest Hospital Radio, provided by the wonderful volunteers who make this fabulous facility happen, daily?
If you look at their website you’ll see also a link to the current week’s programme guide which is displayed helpfully in full.
And then remember My Dementia Choir.
This radio station plays the kind of music people with dementia will recognise and relate to from their memories of long ago, the songs to which they may well know all the words too.
Listen to it online, download podcasts. And most of all - spread the word!
Friday: Check out the activities available locally for people with dementia
Now check out the regular activities available locally for people with dementia, including the music group “Together in Harmony” with music therapist Frances Attwood – and spread the word about those too!
Saturday: Book a Dementia Friends Session in Lymington
Book now to attend one of the three upcoming one hour Dementia Friends sessions at Linden House, New Street on 30 May, 27 June or 25 July. This will be run by Dementia Champion and Admiral Nurse Tracy Logan
This is a really quick and rewarding way to gain a better understanding of what it's like to have dementia. One hour spent gaining this knowledge can give you the confidence to start a conversation with somebody with dementia, which in turn has the potential to bring some joy to their day - a small investment indeed.
Sessions take place monthly at Linden House, New Street, Lymington on the last Thursday of the month thus: 30 May, 27 June and 25 July are the next 3 dates, 6pm start.
Sunday – Go on do it! Start a conversation!
It can be difficult to know what to say. But Alzheimer’s Society teamed up with people affected by dementia to give you the best tips for getting a conversation started:
‘Talk to me, smile, be a little patient and give me time to reply.’
'A simple ‘hello’, ask about the weather, anything that you feel comfortable with.’
'Just be yourself and yes, we will make mistakes but it’s ok to laugh along with us.’
'I love it when people ask me questions. It gives me an opportunity to show that people with dementia exist, that we can still contribute to things going on around us and that life goes on. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like me again'
'Just don’t ask if I remember.’
'Don’t be afraid. All it takes is a conversation to see we’re still us.’
If you’re still unsure on how to get the conversation started, Alzheimer's Association can help. Read their Ask Us Anything booklet for more tips and advice. You don’t have to be nervous saying the wrong thing either - there are tips on what not to say to someone with dementia on their blog.
Even in the later stages of dementia when having a conversation might become difficult, keeping in touch means a lot. Seeing friends and loved ones brings feelings of happiness and comfort, and the ‘emotional memory’ remains with people living with dementia long after the memory of the visit may have gone.
Please see also Dementia Action Week in the Events Calendar
Contact Lymington Dementia Action Group if you can help with the mission to make Lymington ever more dementia friendly.