Category: Devon Dementia Kitemark

Alzheimer’s Society Blog: Gina Awad Dementia Friendly Awards 2017: Last year’s winner, one year on

Alzheimer’s Society Blog: Gina Awad Dementia Friendly Awards 2017: Last year’s winner, one year on

Last year saw founder of the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance, Gina Awad, win her award for Dementia Friends Champion of the Year 2016.  Several of our homes are members of the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance and we work closely with Gina to help raise awareness of building a more dementia friendly community in Exeter. The Alzheimer’s Society reflect on last years winners as 2017 nomination open.

With nominations for 2017’s Dementia Friendly Awards now open, one of last year’s winners Gina Awad explains how work continues in her local community.

Since winning the award for Dementia Friends Champion of the Year in 2016, I have continued to raise awareness across Exeter.

In this busy, vibrant city a transformation in the perception of dementia is beginning to take shape. It’s inspiring to see this vision of a dementia friendly community embraced with open arms, but there is still much more to do. As we know change is tough, but being open to change is a key starting point.

Building the movement

I am certainly not superwoman and at times I’ve genuinely struggled juggling work, being a mum, following my passion in dementia and working towards the completion of my BSc in Health & Social Care through the Open University.

But I’m proud to continue delivering regular Dementia Friends sessions, which have now reached more than 1,300 people. These sessions have ranged in diversity from GP practices to supermarkets, coffee shops and yoga festivals. I even led a session in Beijing airport when I trekked the Great Wall of China for dementia research!

I also continue to present my quarterly community radio show on Phonic FM, ‘Living better with dementia’. The show gives a platform for people living with dementia to share personal stories and experiences, as well as giving innovators the space to share new and existing initiatives.

Empowering the community

What I’ve discovered more recently is the power of collaboration and partnership and how it moves mountains. We have a lot to learn from eachother, and by sharing fresh perspectives and ideas we can achieve so much more.

I have delivered more than 90 individual Dementia Friends sessions to date. What’s even more important, though, is developing a collaborative approach with local businesses and organisations to further the reach of this evolving community work.

The Dementia Friends social action movement has been pivotal in bringing local organisations into the fold. To date the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance has received commitment from 58 organisations – a tremendous achievement that I feel very proud to have played a part in.

Learning never stops

Even at this stage in my journey, there is always more to learn. So it has been heartening to receive support from the community as I chose to further my education in dementia following my degree.

With trepidation, I took the plunge to crowdfund an online Post Graduate Certificate in Dementia Studies with Stirling University. Last week I achieved my funding target thanks to the generosity of those who have supported my voluntary work. What can I say… I don’t have words!

I am not unique as a Dementia Friends Champion. There are so many fantastic individuals across the country making tremendous differences daily and I salute you all.

For anyone who wants to join the movement, all I’d say is that Dementia Friends has changed my life. Being honoured for my work is a welcome bonus and for that I am truly thankful.

Blog posted here: https://blog.alzheimers.org.uk/inside-the-society/dementia-friendly-awards-winner/

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Guest Blog: #UnitedAgainstDementia for Dementia Awareness Week

Guest Blog: #UnitedAgainstDementia for Dementia Awareness Week

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.

virtual-dementia-tour

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.

Dementia Care Conference

Dementia Care Conference

The recent Dementia Care Conference was organised by a fellow member of the Devon Care Kite Mark (DCKM https://dckm.co.uk/). If you haven’t heard of the DCKM then it’s a group of care homes based in Devon supporting each other to provide excellent care. It currently represents 60 homes offering regular training, master classes, and get together in order to share best practice. Another of the hugely beneficial elements is peer reviews. Owners and managers visit another home offering an independent opinion on an agreed topic. This critical friend reviewing is an invaluable part of our audit system as we strive to provide the best care.

The conference was open to both health/social care professionals as well members of the public. Each of our staff who attended found the day extremely beneficial. Interestingly but not surprisingly each had a different key point as their take away message. This holds true with something head of Care Quality Commission (CQC) Andrea Sutcliffe said “if you’ve met one person with dementia you’ve met one person”. You can’t assume to know someone’s life, how they wish to be cared for, or what their highlight of a conference will be without asking.

I’ve read Andrea Sutcliffe’s blogs, as head of CQC she is an important leader having an impact on our daily operation of our homes. As a speaker she engaged and held her audience and did, in my opinion, come across as being passionate about raising standards.

Andrea has frequently shared a picture of her mother stating the importance of the mum test “ask yourself if it’s good enough for your mum or someone you care deeply for”. This is a simple but excellent test and one all our staff can keep in mind as they go about this day.

Andrea spoke about the importance of seeing the person not the diagnosis that we have to help people live life to the full and thus enabling people to have a meaningful life.  The other speakers also supported the absolute importance of life history.  This history is crucial to allow homes to provide the personalised care everyone deserves, and help residents achieve a meaningful life.  Mark from Home Instead a domiciliary provider spoke about a gentleman who was refusing morning showers.  When they learnt more about his life history and previous routines they learnt that he always returned home from work on a certain train, poured himself a gin and then had a bath.  When the agency changed the care to match this pattern he was extremely happy to have a bath.  Read our previous blog on reminiscing: https://peninsulacarehomes.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/the-importance-of-reminiscing/

So for me the conference was a beneficial day with many key messages and tips to help us improve our service.  A quote Andrea shared in her closing speech which we should all embrace was “see every single person as an individual.  It is our privilege to support them to live their life with as much happiness, love and security as we can give them”