Category: Exeter Dementia Action Alliance

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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Memory Walk 2017 Exeter

Memory Walk 2017 Exeter

On Sunday 3rd September some Peninsula Care Homes staff joined hundreds of people walking for the Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk.

Starting in Exwick playing fields near the canal we walked just under 5 miles taking in some of the canal views and wildlife. It was an extremely damp day with pouring rain but didn’t prevent us and many others walking for Alzheimer’s Society.

Should you wish to donate please visit our fundraising page https://www.justgiving.com/companyteams/MW41275x

Our next walk/run is supporting the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance. The Muddiford’s Cheese Run is on October 8th and includes a 5 mile scenic run/walk from Burlescombe Village along The Grand Western Canal finishing at Muddiford’s Court Country House. After the finishing line we can enjoy the fun day.

muddifords-cheese-run-2017

Virtual Dementia Tour 2017

Virtual Dementia Tour 2017

PCH staff recently took part in the Virtual Dementia Tour training and our Parkland House poets have produced another touching poem to share their experience of the tour.

Walking the Dementia path.

parkland-poem-vdt

You are you and I am I,

Today we walked in your dementia shoes,

The experience made us sad,

The emotions you feel every day,

We have never been able to fully understand,

As we entered the room, time stood still,

This is how you must feel,

The darkness overcame us all,

It was hard not to fall,

Our senses had disappeared,

Then the unknown had appeared.

We had no feeling in our hands and feet,

Our eyes were covered with what seemed like a black sheet,

You live each day like this,

Staring sadly into the abyss.

During the tour we took comfort in knowing we can return,

But this saddens us you can’t, but we’ll help you and learn,

We felt the daily obstacles that get in your path,

We will take these away with a smile with all the staff,

The voices that you hear are loud and unclear,

We can now understand to try and ease that fear,

The sounds you hear must make you disorientated,

But we can promise- our reassurances won’t be belated,

Now we can walk beside you, we’ve been in your shoes,

We will live in the moment with you, we have nothing to lose,

We’ll make the moments as special as you are,

Even if they are few and far.

Now we’ve walked the dementia tour,

We can help to comfort you more,

The darkness that surrounds you,

We felt that too,

We’ll help to bring the light,

We will make it shine, make it bright.

By Lyn, Bekki, Rhianne

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.

Don’t judge me till you walk a mile in my shoes

Don’t judge me till you walk a mile in my shoes

As the saying goes “walk a mile in my shoes, see what I see, hear what I hear, feel what I feel, then maybe you’ll understand why I do what I do, till then don’t judge me”. Ten Peninsula Care Home staff took part in a virtual Dementia Tour to try and do just that. It is evidence based medically & scientifically proven to be the closest experience that a person with a healthy brain can experience what it might be like to be living with dementia.

Of course every individual is different and over 100 types of dementia the effect on a person will be different. However the eight minute long tour helped our staff be more empathic by experiencing first hand physical and mental challenges potentially facing those living with dementia.

virtual-dementia-tour-participantOur staff described the experience as scary, isolating, confusing and emotional. Personally I was largely frustrated. The facilitator guided you through some common everyday tasks and exercises while you are fitted with devices that alter your senses. My frustration was because I hadn’t heard the instructions, I didn’t know what I was meant to be doing, my vision was distorted, I was fumbling to grip due to the gloves, and the continual noise playing in the headphones was driving me to distraction.

I think as each staff member returned to work they couldn’t help but reflect on their recent experience. Asking themselves how they could be better at their role, how they could improve lives of those in our care by not exacerbating potential problems and by remembering what it may feel like to walk in their shoes.

Peninsula Care Homes hopes to be able to bring the virtual tour back to Devon so more of our staff can experience. If you wish to learn more visit http://www.training2care.co.uk/.

1 Million People with Dementia by 2025

1 Million People with Dementia by 2025

May 15-21st is Dementia Awareness Week across the UK with over 850,000 people already living with dementia, this is expected to increase to 1 million by 2025 in the UK and it’s important we understand more. Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging anyone who is worried about dementia to get in touch with them via their website or by calling them on 0300 222 1122.

What is Dementia?

Dementia describes a group of symptoms that occur when the brain is damaged by a disease. It affects daily life and is progressive. Research is continuously searching for cures and ultimately how to prevent the disease in the first instance.

Within Peninsula Care Homes we are fully committed to improving our knowledge and understanding of dementia.  Our staff attend training on a wide range of areas including explanations of the disease and its progression but arguably more importantly ways to support those in our care living with dementia. All four of our residential homes specialise in Dementia care: Coppelia House in Moretonhampstead, Cornerways in Paignton, Parkland House in Exeter and Plymbridge House in Plympton.

In our upcoming blogs we will share tips and learnings from the training that we receive, why we’ve made changes to our homes interiors and what we discovered on our virtual dementia tour. The tour hopes to show what it’s like to live with dementia. More spaces are currently available via Exeter Dementia Action Alliance website for Monday 23rd May.

Many of our staff have become a Dementia Friend or Dementia Friend Champion. There are a number of sessions being held across Devon during Dementia Awareness Week if you want to learn more. The talks can be booked via the Alzheimer’s Society website.

The coming week is an opportunity for us all to become more aware of dementia, becoming aware of how to help those living with it and those affected by it. Follow us on Twitter @PeninsulaCare1 and join the conversation using #DAW2016 to raise the awareness.