This week is Dementia Action Week from 20th to 26th May. Dementia Action Week unites people to improve the lives of people living with dementia. With one million people predicted to have dementia by 2021, and 69% of people living in care homes with the disease, care homes have a big role in raising awareness and making a difference to people living with dementia.
How to Support Dementia Action Week
1) Host or attend an event
During this week, Alzheimer’s Society is asking people to host events to raise awareness of dementia and many care homes are running open days. It’s an opportunity for care homes to show how their innovative and person-centred approach to residents living with dementia can improve their quality of life.
2) Help to make care homes dementia friendly
Everyone has a role to play in making a dementia-friendly place to live. In care homes, there’s much more awareness of the challenges of living with dementia and so it’s exciting to see new-build care homes designed for people living with dementia. For example, having indoor and outdoor spaces designed to be secure and allow residents to have unrestricted access to wherever they want to go independently and not to get disorientated.
There are many ways a home can be made more dementia friendly: 10 ways to make your home dementia friendly
3) Connect with people living with dementia
People with dementia are still the same person even if they can’t remember or communicate the same way as they used to. Take time to talk to people with dementia and ask them questions. If they cannot reply, you can still communicate with them in non-verbal ways such as smiling or holding their hand.
Seeing the person beneath the disease is hard when someone cannot communicate. Our ‘Who I Am’ feature means that care staff always have personalised information about residents at their fingertips on the electronic care planning device, so they know how best to support someone, what their preferences are, and how to communicate whatever stage of illness they are. The system also matches residents and staff by interests so care staff can engage with residents at a deeper level and spend better quality time with residents.
Reminiscence therapy helps people with dementia to remember people and places from their past. Care homes can engage in reminiscence with residents with dementia to help them recall memories and connect with others, which helps with depression and loneliness.
InteractiveMe is a tablet based therapeutic tool for people living in care homes which staff can use to develop positive relationships and measure their 1-1 activity sessions. The information an InteractiveMe profile contains enables staff at the home to have a better understanding of the person behind the condition, particularly if they have a diagnosis of dementia.
4) Connect with families
Connecting with families of people living with dementia in care homes can be hard to juggle along with other care tasks and responsibilities. The Relatives Gateway is an online portal to send messages and photos and can be a fantastic way to communicate with family members about their loved one on a regular basis so they feel involved in their life.
Find out more about how you can support Dementia Action Week