This photo was taken 80 years ago, almost to the day. How many of these men had grandchildren – babies, who will now themselves be in their eighties, a significant number perhaps living with dementia?
It seems very poignant to me that someone has written “Outside” – and underlined it.
In this series, looking at dementia from different perspectives, we are trying to underline how important it is for people living with this disease to be able to carry on with their lives, enjoying the outdoors and living in communities who understand and know how to support them. On one of the recent Guardian discussions, I noticed a comment from Kath Horner, talking about the exciting work they are doing in Sheffield.
I invited her to tell us more…
Seeking a dementia friendly Sheffield
Here in Sheffield we are at the beginning of a journey to develop a ‘dementia friendly Sheffield’. Building links and networks within one particular area of the city with local partners (Shiregreen and FirthPark) as well as ensuring strategic sustainable development. The 4 cornerstones which have been identified are Place, People, Networks and Resources which all interlink to establish some of the work we have and are undertaking outlined below.
We have used an environmental checklist to work with Sheffield City Council Planning Department and people with dementia to undertake a ‘patch walk’. Potential barriers were identified that could hinder someone with dementia negotiating their local area. This provides a model for how we would want to use patch walks in other areas of the city.
Sheffield Hallam University and NHS Sheffield have secured a small sum of money to produce a dementia awareness animation. We will produce DVDs for training and awareness purposes. Park View Care Home residents and clients of WRVS will be interviewed and animation footage will accompany the words. Something akin to ‘Creature Comforts’ springs to mind.
The Sheffield Health and Social Care Foundation Trust began a series of dementia awareness events for Chinese, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Irish, Somali, Yemeni and African Caribbean communities. The dementia friendly community approach has been discussed in these arenas.
I am a member of the Sheffield Assistive Technology Programme Board. I have responsibility for leading one workstream which is Assistive Technology and Dementia. November will see Care Home managers in the city attending an event to showcase and test out assistive technology ‘kit’ for people in their care that have dementia.
‘Innovations in Dementia’ has been instrumental in supporting us in our quest to develop a dementia friendly community. We have adapted their help pack for Customer Facing staff. We will be approaching local retail outlets, banks, pubs etc., and using dementia awareness best practice models from Yorkshire and Humber to inform our model of engagement.
We will be collaborating with local organisations to provide a focus for intergenerational work with one primary school. This will give us a background to developing work around the concept of dementia and intergenerational work at a local level.
We have trained 40 front line staff from a variety of organisations including community police officers, library staff, housing wardens and the voluntary sector in dementia awareness. There are plans in the future to offer training for supported housing units.
The dementia friendly work seems to have a life of its own and ideas for doing more are in the pipeline. For example: there is potential for Museums and Heritage in the city to be involved with this work; Sheffield Libraries are keen to engage with this agenda and they have offered support in hosting events and publicising the initiative. A local organisation is keen to develop some work to combat isolation and loneliness amongst older people and dementia is featured here. We have Age UK who is involved in ensuring local people are linked into their services where appropriate. Sheffield Alzheimers Society is key in providing specialist knowledge and support at all times.
Building a dementia friendly city is seen as a 5 year plan. We started in December 2011 and are pleased at the progress we have made. Thank you for the opportunity to tell you what we are doing and what we would like to do in the future.