What are YOU doing at 3pm this Saturday?
Did you know that this is the date to mark Dementia Awareness Day? 3pm is the specific time to do something special – but this could be as small as talking to one person and telling them something about dementia. We challenge you, individually, to make sure that on Saturday you do at least ONE SMALL THING to help raise awareness of dementia and reduce stigma!
This “guest blog series”, looking at dementia from different perspectives, was started for ‘Dementia Awareness Week” back in May. We have now had over 60 guest posts and are thrilled at the response – both from the contributors and the readers and supporters.
In the series, we have included powerful posts by Norman McNamara, living with dementia. Norman and his friends in Torbay organised the first Dementia Awareness Day a year ago and Norman talks here about this year’s event.
To mark this event, I am delighted to post another contribution from Norman telling us about the work of the Torbay Dementia Action Alliance. I hope you will find it interesting to compare the different approaches being taken around the country to establish dementia friendly communities. The series does not set out to judge, just to share the learning and showcase innovative approaches. The approach in Torbay is certainly very action-focused! …
Hello my name is Norman Mc Namara and nearly five years ago I was diagnosed with early onset Dementia. Since then I have campaigned long and hard to improve things for all those affected, patients and carers alike, and hope to do so for as long as possible.
Back in January I decided to found the Torbay Dementia Action Alliance and I am so pleased to say we have grown so much since. The documentation we are giving out to Businesses and companies are simple and direct. Also one of the documents was written by myself so you really do have it “straight from the horse’s mouth”, so to speak!! Our local radio website includes a list of all our supporters who have signed up and a photo of us meeting with government officials - I am on the left to the Prime Minister.
Who Said It Wouldn’t Work??
The way we are running the Torbay Dementia Action Alliance has been discussed, dissected and yes, sometimes, even derided!!! Our approach of doing this from the bottom upwards without the need for “criteria, work streams, and being evidence based” is not welcomed by some who want to do lots of what they call “research” first to see what people with dementia and their carers need.
We have already done this by having people with Dementia and their carers on the steering groups and advising which way is best to approach this (SIMPLES !!) thus we have people (Volunteers) on the ground who are either living with this awful disease or have cared for people with it for many years. These are the REAL people who will make a difference. As you know we have taken the “Inverted Triangle” approach. This is quite simply where you turn the triangle upside down and allow those at the bottom to run the things that need running on the ground (those with the day to day experience) and then filter it up to those who need to know, and this in turn, hopefully takes a little pressure off the bosses!! LOL.
Norman gives an example of a week in early August 2012, as described on his Community Care blog, showing how their hands-on approach is helping people here and now…
Last week we signed up the local Wilkinson’s store here in Torquay and all the store staff were given the documents to read. Within days of this there was an incident. We heard from the Store manager to say a lady became quite confused and agitated as she was shopping. Because the store staff had read and understood the info given them by the TDAA (Torbay Dementia Action Alliance) they recognised the signs of Dementia, waited patiently and calmed her down, eventually persuading her to give them a phone number out of her diary so they could contact a member of her immediate family to take her home safely, and this is exactly what happened!!!!
She arrived home safe and sound!! Have you ANY IDEA how good it is to write those words!!!!
Let’s make no mistake my friends how important this is and what a benchmark we have made!!! This is what we dreamt of when we first formed the Torbay Alliance, this is what we all wanted to happen (as sad at it is that it does happen), and this has happened.
THIS PROVES WHAT WE DO WORKS!!!!
THIS PROVES THAT WE ARE MAKING THAT DIFFERENCE!!
AND THIS PROVES WE ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH!!
This also proves that sometimes, just sometimes, we don’t have to make everything in this world “PC”
All we want to do is to help people, make their lives better and improve their quality of life by communication and understanding of this disease where it’s needed, right at the heart of things, not in Tower blocks of offices and Boardrooms, but RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW!!!
I wouldn’t like to be the in the shoes of the person who turns round and says to all those fantastic, warm, kind hearted people of Torbay who have taken the Alliance to their hearts “Err sorry, you are not a Dementia Friendly Community” because you have not registered with us, or something similar, WOULD YOU???? LOL
This is without the best news I have shared for a long time and I am hoping you share it also,
All our Love, Norrms, Elaine and the Torbay Dementia Action Alliance