UK - Northern Ireland - Dementia Friendly Communities

Dementia Friendly Communities for Deaf programme
Dementia Friendly Communities programme

Derry Engages and Empowers Dementia (DEED)
Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) Northern Ireland
Police Service of Northern Ireland awareness and programmes
Small Changes

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Dementia Friendly Communities for Deaf programme

The Dementia Friendly Communities for Deaf programme in Northern Ireland is a collaboration between the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Communities team and the British Deaf Association (BDA), with funding from Joseph Rowntree Foundation. This project focused on providing information about dementia in British and Irish sign language through 3 hour workshops for deaf people. Some 14 workshops were delivered over 18 months to 400 deaf people, sensory impairment team social workers, and staff and volunteers working with deaf people with dementia and deaf carers. A signed, subtitled and voiced over film was also created for all participants to share learning from the workshop and is available on BDA’s website. The findings are also contained in a Joseph Rowntree Foundation Solutions paper Dementia friendly communities: supported learning and outreach with the deaf community.

Dementia Friendly Communities programme

With funding from The Atlantic Philanthropies, Northern Ireland has been able to create and implement a four-year Dementia Friendly Communities programme, running from 2013-2017. Alzheimer’s Society has developed models to measure impact and share learning for initiatives in Northern Ireland with a greater emphasis on community-based services with both local councils and local health and social care trusts playing a key role. The Dementia Friendly Communities initiative was put in place to support the development and piloting of 16 distinct dementia friendly models (see below) that encourage people affected by dementia to stay at home longer through better access to services, businesses and support within their community. The programme has the support of more than a third of all elected members of Northern Ireland’s Assembly.

In collaboration with people with dementia and their carers, awareness raising workshops have been developed which form the bedrock of the Dementia Friendly Communities programme. They are aimed at increasing understanding and awareness of dementia, thereby reducing stigma, and at improving communication and interaction with people affected by dementia. The workshops are delivered by Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Communities staff, and Dementia Friendly Communities Champions of which 72 have been trained to date. 10,000 people have attended these workshops so far, including Council staff, Trust staff, PHA employees, staff in voluntary organisations, schools, shops, etc. The workshops have been well received and Alzheimer’s Society deliver the workshops free of charge, at the most convenient time and place to the client, and are able to tailor the content to the specific requirement of the recipient groups.

Communities and organisations register to gain the ‘Working towards becoming a Dementia Friendly Community’ status and to access the Alzheimer’s Society online recognition tool. In Northern Ireland the Dementia Friendly Communities team support communities and organisations to establish commitments/ actions, and give access to a wide range of toolkits, publications and resources available through Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Communities website www.alzheimers.org.uk/dementiafriendlycommunities. The communities and organisations must report on a 6-monthly basis.

The Dementia Friendly Community programme completed research with people affected by dementia, using the YouGov poll findings of the Dementia 2012 report. The research revealed five solutions that would make it easier for people affected by dementia to live life the way they want:

  • Better understanding of dementia and less social stigma attached (25%).
  • More public awareness of the condition (17%).
  • More local activities and opportunities to socialise (13%).
  • More tolerance and patience from others (7%).
  • More community spirit (7%).

People with dementia would like the following to have more of an understanding of dementia: family (54%), friends (58%), neighbours (51%), health and social care professionals (58%), people working in banks, post offices and shops (62%), the police (54%).

The Dementia Friendly Communities programme is providing models for each of these areas, in particular raising public awareness and access to community based services such as shops, banks and promoting inclusivity of people affected by dementia amongst service providers including church groups, voluntary organisations including arts and older people’s groups.

Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) Northern Ireland

The Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) Northern Ireland, linked to Scotland’s Centre at the University of Stirling, are providing advice, guidance and consultancy services for the design of dementia friendly spaces. The DSDC Design Audit Tool and Design School programme support this work.

Derry Engages and Empowers Dementia (DEED)

One project that Northern Ireland's Dementia Friendly Communities programme partnered with was Derry Engages and Empowers Dementia (DEED). DEED was established in 2014 in a deprived area of the city of Derry to raise awareness of dementia and support local businesses and communities to become more dementia friendly. Research carried out in the area by the Old Library Trust found that local people with dementia and carers wished to be more active within the community. Within 18 months, more than 100 Dementia Friendly Communities awareness raising workshops had been held for 47 organisations and 14 businesses. Workshops were also prepared for children and carried out in three local schools as well as a Girl Guide group. Following the workshops, organisations were equipped with a DEED dementia friendly window sticker to display and a toolkit for making their premises more dementia friendly. Other activities included Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Communities team providing training of Dementia Friendly Community Champions, physical activity training, a Dementia Awareness Week tea party, and DEED recognition awards for organisations or businesses that had made a significant contribution to becoming dementia friendly. Alongside their work in York, England; Joseph Rowntree Foundation provided funding for the initial 18 months of the project and evaluated the work in Derry in the report, Building a Dementia Friendly Community in Northern Ireland: Learning from the DEED Project in Derry, which was launched in November 2015.

Police Service of Northern Ireland awareness and programmes

A significant body of work has been carried out with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) which includes development and delivery of a bespoke awareness workshop for police personnel, promotion of signs and symptoms of dementia, promotion of Think dementia referral process on PSNI internal systems to include National Dementia Helpline telephone number and Emergency Social Work response telephone line. All PSNI officers attending the workshop have the opportunity to consider and learn from case studies and to learn more about the Alzheimer’s Society Advocacy service and Dementia Support Services that could support them in their professional roles.

Small Changes

The Alzheimer’s Society Small Changes film is actively promoted by the team in Northern Ireland and through the workshops with all people and organisations. It is an invaluable resource that has enabled many people across Northern Ireland to understand how dementia affects the person and prompts behavioural change.