Those of us who were able to attend the Dementia Friends Information session at Drop-In on Friday 21st February were reassured and encouraged to learn more about a condition that probably induces as much fear as a cancer diagnosis did 30 years ago.
Dementia is not just about losing memory and it is possible to live well with it. It is not a natural part of ageing and those affected have many more facets than the dementia and are still the same person who has lived all those years prior to the diagnosis.
We heard about some of the many forms of dementia and learnt ways to understand and be helpful to those living with various diseases of the brain. We heard how helpful it is to avoid speaking too fast, to stick to one topic at a time, to understand that people's perceptions may be affected and things may appear differently and in an unfamiliar way. Above all, we learnt to love, value and respect the person and to let them guide us how best to be helpful without removing their dignity or independence.
We have pledged to begin to create an environment, in and around the church, more sympathetic to those learning to live with dementia. Look out for clearer signs, use of colour to highlight switches, and more. Help us to understand how better to serve anyone living with additional needs by pointing out when things might be arranged, organised or signposted differently.
You too can sign up to become a Dementia Friend here: