Peninsula Care Homes are raising awareness for Dementia Awareness Week from the 14th to the 20th of May 2017. This week’s guest blog comes from PCH Marketing and Admin Coordinator, Nikita Morgan.
I am the Marketing & Admin Coordinator at Peninsula Care Homes and I look after the company’s social media, website and publications. In this blog post I am looking back at my first year at PCH and my experience with dementia.
This time last year I joined PCH and took up my first role in the care industry. Being completely new to the industry, I quickly learnt how important it was to be aware of dementia and how to help those living with it. Visiting the care homes for the first time I could witness just how much hard work its staff members put in daily and nightly. Almost instantly I was completely drawn into the passion the caregivers gave doing their jobs and helping residents.
It has been heavily reported that dementia is set to be one of the UK’s biggest killer. With too many facing it alone, it is more important now more than ever to unite against the condition and to understand how to help those living with it. This was something I turned my focus towards.
As each of our residential homes care for residents living with dementia, this was something I familiarised myself with quickly. From watching the PCH staff when visiting the care homes for the first time, it was clear this kind, caring and patient nature was not just essential but almost second nature as they went about their duties
Part of my role at PCH is to keep up to date with local communities and strengthen our relationships with our organisations. PCH are members of the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance, a group founded by Gina Awad with one goal, ‘to create a more dementia friendly community’. More recently our Plympton care home have become members of the Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance, another great opportunity to help support their local events and raise awareness in the Plymouth area.
The Alliance has created some fantastic opportunities for local care homes, including ourselves, and families to get involved in fun events and exciting activities in the city. It has also raised significant awareness in the city for those living with dementia, from the Royal Albert Museum holding craft classes for those living with dementia to come with their families or carers, to dementia friendly screenings at the local Picture House. All of which are to help Exeter become a more dementia friendly community.
In addition to Company training on dementia many PCH staff have chosen to become Dementia Friends. You can become a Dementia friend by taking a course that inspires and teaches the fundamentals to understanding dementia and those affected. I joined the course and received my lovely forget me not Dementia Friend Badge, with the little book of friendship as part of completing the course.
I recently completed the Virtual Dementia Tour; a course that puts you through a virtual reality experience simulating how an individual may experience living with dementia. It was such an incredible experience which will stay with me. It was almost like a light-bulb moment and after the course I understood a great deal more about the symptoms of dementia and how I can help the care homes and residents going forward. For an example, I learned that the primary colours are the last colours to be identified – this helps me when I am designing posters, newsletters and food menus, etc, to make them more dementia friendly.
My understanding of dementia has grown as well as my passion to help those living with the symptoms. I hope you join us and the national conversation this Dementia Awareness Week and stand ‘United Against Dementia’. Contact our homes or your local community to find out what activities are taking place across the week. Or simply join in the conversation across social media by using #UnitedAgainstDementia and #DAW17.