A drop-in event, where people can learn more about dementia and how to support those with the condition, is being staged in Stroud as part of National Dementia Awareness Week.
The week runs from May 15 to 21 and on Thursday May 19 homecare provider DoCare is hosting the open event at its headquarters in London Road.
DoCare’s Dementia Lead and former holder of the title National Dementia Carer of the Year, Kerry-Ann Lees, is coordinating the event, which is aimed at those supporting people with dementia, anyone who has the condition, or people just wanting to find out more. Currently, there are some 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and this is set to rise to one million by 2025.
“We wanted to do something to mark Dementia Awareness Week, so having an open day, and using our large training room as a venue, seemed a good idea,” said Kerry-Ann.
“Many of our clients have dementia, so we are in daily contact with them and also with their families, who are looking for ways to support their relatives.”
The open day will run from 10am to 2pm. There will be information posters about providing ‘meaningful moments’ for people with dementia, focusing on activities which can provoke memories and feelings.
DoCare chatter boxes will be on display; a chatter box is made up for each client with dementia, and contains memorabilia, such as photos or objects, again which stir up thoughts and feelings.
Evidence show smells and sounds can also act as triggers for a person with dementia, so there will be a ‘music magic’ and ‘snappy smells’ stand. There will also be a hand masseuse available, who will show how hand massage can be soothing, particularly for those finding it hard to communicate.
Kerry-Ann, with her colleagues Jinny Searle and Kate Townsend, will also offering memory tests. The iPad-based test is available through DoCare to any elderly people with concerns about their memory, and the results can be presented to a GP and potentially lead to a diagnosis of dementia.
Dementia Awareness Week is run by the Alzheimer’s Society and aims to encourage people who are worried about dementia to confront their concerns by addressing dementia directly and coming to the Alzheimer’s Society for information and support.