Supporting Dementia Friendly Communities during COVID-19

The What, The How & The Why

Supporting dementia friendly communities during covid-19. The What, The Why, The How. Written by Laura Summers.

The Design and Learning Centre continue to support Dementia Friendly Communities during COVID-19. Virtual Dementia Friendly Community Meetings have been held in some areas, often reaching a wide audience and initiating projects that will ease the isolation felt by people living with dementia.

As lockdown restrictions continue to ease those affected by dementia need support and understanding in the community now more than ever. We are now required to wear a face covering in shops and on public transport.  Some people with dementia may not like wearing a face covering or understand why they should wear one and they may find it difficult or forget to adhere to social distancing guidelines, not to mention the difficulties people affected by dementia may have experienced with shielding.  It has also had a huge affect on those people who care for people living with dementia.

 “Each day my husband has forgotten about social distancing and I have to keep on and on explaining why he can’t go and talk to the neighbours or see family, it is exhausting”

We are raising awareness of these challenges with our dementia friendly communities and are encouraging and supporting them to take action in their communities to support people affected by dementia in the current circumstances.

Dementia Friends

A Dementia Friend is somebody that learns about dementia so they can help their community and people living with dementia by taking actions – both big and small  From visiting someone you know with dementia to being more patient in a shop queue, every action counts!

Dementia Friends Information Sessions are free of charge and are run by volunteer Dementia Friends Champions. Each Information Session lasts around one hour. You will learn more about dementia and how you can help to create dementia friendly communities.

As part of the Dementia Friendly Communities Programme we are pleased to be able to offer these Information Sessions.  Sessions are now being delivered virtually, you can become a Dementia Friend by:

  • Contacting Laura Summers or Jo Evans in the Dementia Friendly Communities Team at: [email protected] to request an on-line session specifically for you or members of your team.
  • You can watch an on-line video here.
  • Join in with a Zoom Livestream or Webinar Session that has been organised and is being advertised on the Dementia Friends Website.

To find out more about Dementia Friends, visit the website.

Our future plans include delivering as many sessions as possible to Adult Social Care and Health staff and delivering Sessions to a whole year group Year 6 Pupils in Swale.

Examples of the Dementia Friendly communities during Covid-19

  • Sevenoaks: Area Dementia Friendly Community have started a Dementia Friendly Allotment Garden in partnership with Sevenoaks Town Council, Sevenoaks Allotment Holders Association and a local Solicitors. This is a space for people affected by Dementia to enjoy and help to maintain. The Allotment will be open in September in memory of Symone Salwan, the Chair of Sevenoaks Area Dementia Friendly Community who sadly passed away.
  • North Kent: Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support Services have introduced a virtual singing back the memories group which has been very successful, virtual memory cafes and dementia drop in’s alongside their core services are all being delivered virtually.
  • East Peckham: had a Cup Cake Day in June and they created an intergenerational activity using a Dementia Buddy/ Mascot, residents enjoyed cakes and they delivered 40 afternoon teas to people affected by dementia in the village and also managed to raise £410 in the process.  This Community is run by one of our Community Wardens.
  • Ikea Packs: IKEA have donated some of their products to people with dementia in care homes to give them activities to do and some home comforts to enjoy as it’s been so difficult for many people during this time. Packs include indoor games, paints and brushes, plant pots and cooking and gardening equipment. We will be distributing these packs across Kent.

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