Calderdale businesses are being given tips on how to support customers with dementia, as part of the drive by Calderdale Council and the Alzheimer’s Society to make Calderdale a dementia friendly borough.
The two organisations have created a new credit card sized, fold-out leaflet to help businesses make it easier for people with dementia to use their services, and to support staff to serve them more effectively.
By 2015 there will be 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2021. There are over 2,500 people with dementia in Calderdale, and two thirds of them are still living in the community. Businesses can make small changes to help make a difference.
People with dementia say they want employees to have more awareness and that they would feel more confident if they felt that staff in shops and banks could show they have had some training in dementia. Tips for businesses in the new leaflet include:
- · Recognising the signs of dementia – common signs are confusion, forgetfulness, losing or repeating words
- · Giving customers more time to talk or do transactions
- · Speaking clearly, calmly and slowly
- · Offering to help count out money if the customer appears to be struggling
The leaflet is one of the ways that the Council and theAlzheimer’s Society are aiming to help improve the quality of life for people living with dementia and their carers.
Businesses can show their commitment to being dementia friendly by becoming members of the Calderdale Dementia Action Alliance and displaying the sign ‘Working to become dementia friendly’.
The Dementia Action Alliance encourages and supports communities and organisations across the country to take practical actions to transform the lives of people with dementia. Organisations can become members by submitting an action plan showing what they can do to make a difference. The action plans are published at www.dementiaaction.org.uk(external link)and are regularly updated by members. Quarterly meetings provide an opportunity to find out how to make things easier for people with dementia, and to learn from other organisations that have adapted their services.
Individuals can make a difference by becoming Dementia Friends. This involves taking part in a short awareness session, lasting about 45 minutes to an hour. The Alzheimer’s Society will be visiting Morrison’s car park on Keighley Road, Halifax, in the ‘Busoasis’ bus, on Tuesday 18 November, from 10am to 1pm. This is an opportunity to find out about services for people living with dementia in Calderdale. There will be a Dementia Friends session, on the Busoasis bus, at 11am.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Social Care, Cllr Ann McAllister, said:
“The majority of people with dementia in Calderdale are living in our communities, using the same public services, shops, bank, cafés and facilities as everyone else. We want these to be as accessible as possible, so we are working with the Alzheimer’s Society to support businesses to be dementia friendly.
“Research shows that having positive social interactions can reduce the chance of dementia and depression, and help lonely people, some of whom may well be caring for someone with dementia, avoid relying on medication and long-term care. Calderdale Council and the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group are investing £1 million into tackling loneliness in older people to help them live long, healthy lives.
“We’re listening to what people with dementia are telling us would make things easier, and have used their views to shape our new leaflet containing tips for businesses. We have already started distributing leaflets to local businesses, and the feedback so far has been really positive.”
For a copy of the leaflet please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01422 352789.
To join the Dementia Action Alliance visit www.dementiaaction.org.uk(external link)
To find out more about how you can become a Dementia Friend go to www.dementiafriends.org.uk(external link)