18th May 2021
by Megan Comber, Dementia Friendly Community Coordinator for Islington Borough
This week is Dementia Action Week and in Islington we want to celebrate the recognition of ‘Dementia Friendly Islington’ and encourage everyone to get involved!
There are around 1400 people over the age of 65 living with dementia in the borough of Islington. And this is why it is important that we help make Islington a Dementia Friendly Borough.
But, what does Dementia Friendly mean? It means making changes and taking action for people affected by dementia. This could be the person with dementia, or their family, friends or carers. The Dementia Friends initiative by the Alzheimers Society is all about changing peoples perceptions of dementia, aiming to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition. Everyone and anyone can do something to become more dementia friendly!
Think about your answers to the following question:
“What are some words that come to mind when you hear the word Dementia?”
“What did you notice about the words you immediately thought of? Were they negative or positive?”
It’s likely the words you chose were negative or have negative connotations. You have done absolutely nothing wrong with choosing these words, but this demonstrates why it is so important that we change these perceptions, and we view dementia in a more positive light. For example, we ask everyone to commit to never using the term ‘dementia sufferer’ again, and instead use ‘person living with Dementia.’
If we can make Islington, and the rest of the UK, a Dementia Friendly place, then we are making it friendly for everyone, and we are enabling people with Dementia to live independently for as long as they want to. Have you heard the phrase ‘if you’ve met one person with dementia, you’ve met one person with dementia?’ Everyone’s journey is unique but with the right support and understanding, people can live well with dementia and still contribute to their local community.
In Islington we have been recognised as ‘working towards becoming a dementia friendly borough’ which is really exciting. It means we are doing enough work to earn the title of a ‘Dementia Friendly Community,’ but there is always more work to be done! We currently have 15 members across all different sectors of Islington, all with an action plan to make themselves more dementia friendly. You can see a list of our members and what they are up to here.
• enrolling all their staff onto a 45 minute information session called ‘Dementia Friends’
• delivering activities for people with dementia and their carers
• changing their signage and décor to accommodate people with dementia
• doing dementia friendly audits of their premises and website
• introducing a slow shopping hour
The list of possible actions is endless, and everyone can do something to become more dementia friendly.
If you would like to understand more about what it’s like to live with Dementia, we highly recommend the book ‘Somebody I used to know’ by Wendy Mitchell. It is the first memoir ever written by someone living with dementia, and you can follow her on twitter: @wendypmitchell
If you are part of a group, organisation or business and would like support on how to become recognised as ‘Dementia Friendly’ please email the community lead: firstname.lastname@example.org . We would also love to hear from friends, family, carers and people living with Dementia. We want you to help shape Dementia Friendly Islington!
You can also find us on Twitter: @DIslington
For more information about the Alzheimers Society Dementia Action Week campaign please visit: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-involved/dementia-action-week