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Dementia Awareness Week 15-21 May: Expert shares tips for supporting someone with dementia

“Understand what makes someone tick”.

That was a key message from dementia expert Ian Donaghy, to over 120 delegates at a “Dementia Awareness” training event for local GP practice staff.

Ian, who is Head of Engagement at Wellburn Care, spoke candidly from his professional and family experiences of dementia, and imparted some of his best tips we can all use to help support those with the condition.

These include:

  • Take a few minutes to understand what makes someone tick, not just facts such as their age or where they live. What do they like and dislike? What are their interests?
  • Use simple language when speaking, and pictures more than words in visual documents.
  • Avoid reflective surfaces such as shiny vinyl floors – they can appear as water, which may be disorientating or scary to someone with dementia.
  • Listen; don’t make assumptions or judgements about someone’s wants and needs without asking them.
  • Have fun in the moment. Dementia doesn’t mean someone can’t have fun, even though – in some cases – the memories of a fun event or day may not last.

The event, organised as part of a wider learning and development programme by Scarborough & Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), was designed to give GPs, nurses, receptionists and other practice staff a greater understanding about how to support the needs of local patients with dementia.

Tim Kirkup, Chair of Dementia Action Alliance, Dementia Friends champion and Alzheimer’s Society volunteer, also encouraged local residents to get involved this Dementia Week (15-21 May).

Said Tim: “So many of us know someone with dementia, yet it’s an often misunderstood condition. I’d encourage everyone to learn from Ian’s tips and to get involved this Dementia Week. There are information stands you can pop by at the Brunswick Shopping Centre and Scarborough Hospital from the 16th-20th, and in Malton Hospital on the 19th.”

“By dropping by to one of these stands, or attending a free event such as that hosted by Dementia Friends at Scarborough Library on 18th May from 10.30-11.30am, we can all learn more about how we can support those we love who have dementia.”

-ENDS-

Additional notes

Ian Donaghy’s 2014 book, “Dear Dementia: The Laughter & the Tears”, was published by Hawker Publications. It has reached 24 countries and been included on the Alzheimer’s Society Reading Well prescribed list of only 25 books for dementia care. For more about Ian’s workshops, visit http://www.trainingforcarers.co.uk/about.php

For further information about Dementia Awareness Week 15-21 May, visit: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/remembertheperson

Details of local Dementia Awareness Week events and activities can be found at: http://cavca.org.uk/dementia-awareness-week/

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