At Abbeyfield, we want all of our residents living with dementia to live the way they want. In this blog, you'll find out about the ways we support residents living with dementia.
What is World Alzheimer’s Day?
World Alzheimer’s Day is a national awareness day hosted by the Alzheimer’s Society which takes place on 21st September, as part of World Alzheimer's Month. This year, the theme is ‘Let’s talk about dementia’. The the aim is to urge everyone to join in the conversation, raising awareness of how the condition impacts the daily lives of people affected, and challenging the stigma that surrounds it.
How does Abbeyfield support residents with dementia?
Alongside our many dementia-friendly care homes, Abbeyfield supports our residents living with dementia in the following ways.
We offer Dementia Friends information sessions to all of our staff, volunteers and residents to help alleviate some of the stigmas attached to dementia and give a better understanding of how we can all help those living with the condition.
Throughout the country we have Dementia Friends Champions who facilitate sessions to our staff and volunteers, encouraging them to make a positive difference to people living with dementia in our houses and homes.
We use The Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT) as a way to better empathise with our residents and learn what it’s like to live with dementia. The VDT is medically and scientifically proven to be the closest we can give a person with a healthy brain to experience what dementia might be like. Invented 20 years ago in America by PK Beville, the VDT aims to give people the ability to understand dementia by walking in the shoes of a person with the disease.
At Abbeyfield, we ensure all of our care home staff, as well as staff in our supported housing and offices, have the opportunity to take part in the VDT and use it as part of their training. We have found that this helps us create a positive environment for those with dementia to live in and ensures staff make more informed decisions for and about our residents as we have a closer idea of the challenges they are coping with.
- Sensory Rooms & Bespoke Activities
Many of our dementia-friendly homes offer bespoke activities that are proven to calm, stimulate and help those living with dementia. Some also offer a sensory room – a space where residents can take part in bespoke activities and safely explore all five senses. Sensory rooms can be used for both calming and stimulating they can enhance feelings of comfort and well-being, relieve stress and pain and maximize a person’s potential to focus, all of which help improve communication and memory.
Some activities Abbeyfield houses and homes offer those living with dementia include arts and crafts, flower arranging, board games, walks, dance and storytelling/memory related activities. You can read more about activities for those living with dementia on the NHS website.
What can you do to support World Alzheimer’s Day and those living with Dementia?
There are many things you can do to show your support – taking the time to talk about dementia can help people (both residents and loved ones) affected by it.
- Become a Dementia Friend with the Alzheimer’s Society
- Join the campaign on social media using #WorldAlzheimersMonth
- Share experiences and talk with others on the Alzheimer’s Society online community forum
- Helps challenge perceptions, fund research and improve care by making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Society
A note from Aaron Ingham, Dementia Projects Officer at Abbeyfield
“I joined The Abbeyfield Society in September 2015 after working in a domiciliary setting where I experienced dementia and care for the first time. One particular encounter with a gentleman living with dementia has always stayed with me and subsequently steered me into wanting to learn as much as I could about the condition and how a truly person-centred approach to care could be adopted when caring for someone with the disease.
"My official job title is ‘Dementia Projects Officer’ which means I project manage a number of small and large projects relating to dementia that will enhance the lives of our residents living with dementia. I am one of a handful of trainers that are qualified in delivering the Virtual Dementia Tour within the organisation and I am also a Dementia Friends Champion."