Dementia Awareness Week - looking forward to next year
We were delighted to play our part in Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Awareness Week, a week full of positivity although not shying away from addressing difficult issues too. People can and do live well with dementia and it is very encouraging to see so many different initiatives at local and individual level supporting people to do just that. Fiona Shand and Catriona Torrance attended Alzheimer Scotland’s Annual Conference and saw first-hand how technology is being developed specifically to help people with dementia in their everyday lives, and to support their carers. Discussions also centred on national healthcare policies and how this feeds down to the experience of people with dementia. And we took part in sessions led by people with dementia talking about local, community based initiatives which can make all the difference in maintaining a sense of self and independence.
There is a notable shift of emphasis to include carers’ wellbeing, how to make sure they have the resources they need, whether it’s access to medical assistance and help with sourcing equipment, or respite for the carers to allow them time to look after themselves. It’s important to recognise that caring can be hard work and without carers at home, people living with dementia might lose their independence. One woman spoke about how if she’d had just one or two weeks of respite from caring for her husband, she would have been able to take better care of herself and continue to care for her husband at home. But because this wasn’t available, she became completely exhausted, concerns were raised about her own mental wellbeing, and the decision was taken to move her husband into permanent residential care.
We can all play our part in raising awareness of dementia, taking stock of how we interact with people living with dementia on an everyday basis, and discussing with carers whether there’s anything they need to support them too. Balfour+Manson has pledged to train all staff to become Dementia Friends, something which we will continue with all new staff when they join us. We had a fun day in the office with our Bakes and Books sale, including a raffle of books signed by the author Ian Rankin, raising funds for Alzheimer Scotland and Lingo Flamingo. And we take with us the practical and positive outlook of supporting clients, their carers, family, and friends to live well with dementia.