Dementia Awareness Week events across North Yorkshire

During Dementia Awareness Week 2017 we're featuring some of the great things that are going on around North Yorkshire to support people whose lives are affected by dementia.

We're featuring some of the great things going on around North Yorkshire to support people whose lives are affected by dementia.

Dementia Awareness Week runs from 15 to 19 May 2017.

Creating a dementia friendly generation

In October 2016, the North Yorkshire Dementia Congress heard a brilliant presentation from some of the county's young people. Since then members of North Yorkshire County Council's Health and Adult Services team have been working with Alzheimer's Society to help create a dementia friendly generation.

Dementia is present in all of our communities and families, and children and young people often know someone living with dementia and be affected by this. This may affect them emotionally or practically in terms of changed behaviour or time that the parent or carer may be able to spend with them.

Council staff and Alzheimer's Society will be working in schools, using teacher toolkits which have been specifically designed for children aged 5-7, 7-11, 11-14 and 14-16 years. Training that has already taken place in a number of schools across North Yorkshire has shown that children are easily able to understand what dementia is and how it can affect people.

This has helped understanding and also resulted in children and young people wanting to be more involved in their communities or to spread the message about being a dementia friend.

There have been a small number of sessions in individual schools so far. Two training days for teachers from primary and secondary schools are scheduled in the next few months and pledges from the teachers attending to be coordinated in to a future development plan and to take back to each school to consider for personal, social, health and economic inclusion and progress.

Work is also going on with Alzheimer's Society and Council staff from Children and Young People's Service to: support young carers and give them a voice in decision making; providing emotional health and wellbeing support; and work with the Healthy Children's team. 

Richmond swimming pool is dementia friendly

Richmond Swimming Pool is managed by local charity Richmond Leisure Trust and is very proud of its location in the Old Station Yard, with stunning views of the River Swale. The view from the café area and poolside makes a great back drop for everybody using the facility.

As part of the work Richmond Leisure Trust does at Richmond Swimming Pool, they are always looking at making the facility inclusive for everybody. They started on a journey to become dementia friendly about a year ago; through this journey a number of staff have with have had dementia awareness training with North Yorkshire Sport.

The Amateur Swimming Association and North Yorkshire Sport have also helped Richmond Swimming Pool become dementia friendly by giving the facility funding to replace the signage. Following on from this work, Richmond Leisure Trust has been accredited as a Dementia Friendly Swim organisation.

The swimming pool now offers a safe, friendly and accessible environment for everybody, as well as a facility that is social with helpful, friendly and approachable staff. The café area is a great area for people to meet, have a drink or something to eat. If you don't want to eat inside there is an area with bright coloured tables for customers to use. These were specifically designed to meet the needs of people with visual disabilities.

Keeping people safe

The Herbert Protocol

North Yorkshire County Council is working with North Yorkshire Police to increase awareness of the Herbert Protocol, a scheme to help the police find people with dementia who go missing.
 
When someone is reported missing, the police need to gather a lot of information about the person such as their daily routine, medication, mobility, and places that are significant to them. If the person has dementia, much of that information may be historic. Extracting the information takes time and the person providing it may be in a heightened state of anxiety and they may not know everything the police need.
 
The Herbert Protocol is a simple risk reduction tool that is designed to collect most of the information the police need when someone goes missing - before it happens. A form is completed by the person at risk, their carers or their family, and kept in a safe place but where it can be quickly found if the person goes missing.
 
North Yorkshire Police will only ask for the completed form if the person at risk has been reported missing. The information provided under the protocol will inform the police's searches, saving valuable time and therefore reducing the risk to the missing person.
 
More information, including a carers' 60-second briefing, designed for professional carers, is available at: www.northyorkshire.police.uk/herbertprotocol.

The scheme is part of a wider project that has seen North Yorkshire Police and the Safeguarding Adult Board work closely with local care providers to manage the risks around vulnerable people who go missing.

Safe Places

North Yorkshire County Council has also worked in partnership with North Yorkshire Police, libraries, district councils, voluntary sector organisations, travel organisations and pharmacies to set up North Yorkshire Safe Places. Safe Places is a nationally recognised community initiative for people who may need more help and support when they are out and about in the community.

The national scheme has had great success. The North Yorkshire initiative supports the positive work of living well teams and stronger communities, and provides people with the confidence to get out and about on their own without formal support, therefore further strengthening our approach to prevent, delay and reduce.

It also helps vulnerable people lead independent lives and feel safe. Businesses and organisations that are registered as a Safe Place display the 'Safe Place' symbol on their window or door. If you are out and about within your local community either through work or not please look out for these symbols.

Find out more about Safe Places here.

Making our libraries dementia friendly

All North Yorkshire County Council's library staff have been through dementia friendly training  and this will continue as the County Council develops its community managed libraries, with the new library volunteers receiving the training too.

There's a lot of other dementia support activities going on the libraries as well. These include:

  • Special book collections for people affected by dementia are available in many libraries or reserved free of charge for the Reading Well collections. Find out more about Reading Well here. A new collection is being launched in July for people with long-term mental health conditions and these will extend the collections further;
  • Memory Cafés at many libraries - just the chance to sit and talk with a coffee and a biscuit can make a difference. Using selected books aimed at stimulating memories through photographs, photos from our local history collections or just someone leading a conversation, it's a great chance for carers to sit and chat;
  • Knit and Natter sessions - not specifically aimed at dementia or carers but a social gathering generally for those who like to knit and talk! Most libraries have these groups and they're great fun;
  • Sporting Memories - sessions at Northallerton library based around sport - and includes playing darts, table tennis and hula hoops all in the library; and
  • There's also been dementia friendly awareness, drop in information sessions for our customers in partnership with various local groups across the county.

Providing dementia support services

Improving dementia services and the quality of care for people with dementia is a key priority for the County Council. North Yorkshire has an ageing population and we know that over 9,000 of our residents are living with dementia.

Our aim is to improve the quality of life for people with dementia, promote their independence and help them plan and maintain their social networks, as well as supporting their carers.
 
The County Council has commissioned Dementia Forward and Making Space, two voluntary organisations working in different localities across North Yorkshire, to provide advice, information, signposting and support to help people with dementia and their carers.

It is widely accepted that early diagnosis and intervention can improve outcomes of people living with dementia particularly early intervention to maximise choice and autonomy, helping individuals and families adapt to the illness and be able to discuss and make plans for the future.

Dementia support workers provide personalised support for people with memory problems, particularly those who have, or who are suspected of having, a dementia diagnosis and their carers. It includes dedicated support to those with learning disability.

Listening to individuals and their carers ensures that services and support are tailored to the needs of each person, giving them choice and control over their lives. Services include:

  • Providing information and advice in an accessible manner which is understood by people living with dementia and their carers;
  • Supported close to, and accessible by, people in their locality to have the best care and achieve the best outcomes for each individual; and 
  • Partners will ensure that people living with dementia will be enabled to live well with the condition.   

You can contact Dementia Forward by phone on 01765 645904, email info@dementiaforward.org.uk or visit www.dementiaforward.org.uk.

You can contact Making Space by phone on 01723 371958, email enquiries@makingspace.co.uk or visit www.makingspace.co.uk/in-your-community/north-yorkshire/.

Carers of people with dementia can contact their local carers' centre for advice, information and support or ring North Yorkshire County Council's customer service centre on 0845 241 1307.

This story was published 4 May 2017