Thursday, 17 April 2014

Dementia Supportive Communities Tackling Stigma in Powys - Sometimes It's The Small Things That Can Really Change Our Lives

"I first came across Rhiannon last year.  She enticed me with her passion to go along to an event she had been instrumental in planning in June 2013.  I wasn't disappointed and the event in turn inspired me to write a blog; Unconventional Wisdom: Dementia and Mental Health - Uncomfortable Bedfellows?
Since then members of my team have followed the progress of the work and tried to do what we can to help.  Glynis, a member of our team, attended a Dementia themed event initiated by Dyfed-Powys Police in December 2013 and you can read about this in Dementia Champions.
So when Rhiannon contacted me this week asking whether I could use her latest article anywhere, I was delighted to be asked.  So thank you Rhiannon for providing the team with this our latest guest blog."

Working towards Brecon and Hay becoming Dementia Supportive Communities

Dementia Friends Champion Training, April 2014
In a bid to help end the stigma surrounding dementia, Alzheimer’s Society has launched the Dementia Friends programme in Wales.

Aimed at giving people a better understanding of dementia, and the small things they can do to make a difference, Brecon and Hay were two of the first towns in Wales to adopt the scheme.

“In Powys, there are around 2500 people living with some form of dementia and this number will only increase in the forthcoming years” said Rhiannon Davies, chair of the Brecon and Hay Dementia Supportive Community group.

“For many people, the battle is not just about getting a diagnosis and support from the health and social care system, but about the everyday things that you and I take for granted - going to the shops, getting money from the bank, visiting the library, taking public transport, participating in leisure activities and hobbies. All these are made more difficult by the stigma and fear attached to the condition. This often leads to people with dementia and their carers staying at home, becoming more isolated and lonely.

“This is where Dementia Friends comes in. With understanding, support and encouragement we can help people with dementia and their carers to remain part of the community, so they can continue to be valued customers, be more active in the local area and live better more fulfilled lives.”

A trained volunteer Dementia Friends Champion herself, Rhiannon is passionate about the initiative.

Brecon Llanfaes Girl Guides become Dementia Friends
“It’s about valuing and respecting the individual, seeing them for who they are rather than the condition they have. Getting the message out there that dementia is not just a part of the ageing process, and with the right support and understanding people with dementia, especially in the early stages, can live well is so important.

“We also need to recognise how challenging it can be for carers, and give them our support too.” she continued.

To-date a range of community associations, organizations and businesses have benefited from Dementia Friends sessions in Powys, with feedback being very positive. Over 250 people have chosen to become dementia friends, and made a commitment to turn their new-found understanding into action. Each session lasts about an hour.

Read more about Dementia Awareness Week May 18-24th 2014 here and the events happening across Powys.  You can also access a press release here.

For those interested in becoming a dementia friend or organising a Dementia Friends session or becoming a Dementia Friends Champion visit

Or contact Jean Nowell, Alzheimer’s Society dementia support worker Tel: 01874 712083

Or Rhiannon at Tel: 01874 676617
"Thanks Rhiannon and I hope this inspires others to support your work."

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