(Picture above from left to right: Angela Clayton-Turner (co-chair of BDAA), Mayor of Bromley – Cllr Kathy Bance MBE, Samantha Buckland (co-chair of BDAA))
Bromley borough was officially recognised as working towards becoming a dementia friendly community at the Bromley Dementia Action Alliance (BDAA) Second Annual Meeting on Tuesday 17th October 2017.
What is a Dementia Friendly Community?
Dementia Friendly Communities is an Alzheimer’s Society programme to get everyone, from governments and large companies to local small businesses, schools and public services, share part of the responsibility so people with dementia feel understood, valued and can live and contribute to their community.
Local communities have to meet certain criteria to show what they are doing to make their local community dementia friendly.
What Bromley has been doing to become Dementia Friendly
Since October 2015, numerous charities, statutory and public services, care homes, shopping centres and other private companies have become members of the Bromley Dementia Action Alliance.
Most recently, for Dementia Awareness Week 2017, more than 16 local, cross-sector partners came together to raise awareness about dementia in Bromley borough. The event reached hundreds of Bromley residents during the week with events including:
- Tesco Orpington hosting local charities and businesses providing information to the general public about dementia and local support services
- A reality-altering, virtual dementia experience of what it may be like to live with dementia for local businesses, councillors, emergency services and health/social care professionals
- Dementia Friends sessions being held across the borough
- Odeon Cinema and London Film Archives dementia friendly film screenings
- Arts and science workshops, related to living with dementia.
Virtual Dementia Tour Bus Comes to Bromley Again
The work to make Bromley a dementia friendly community has continued with another virtual dementia experience in Bromley town centre on Monday 9th October 2017.
People from the Emergency Services, Your Bromley, Age UK Bromley & Greenwich, local hospices and care homes, social workers, MyTime Active and the Mayor of Bromley had an eye-opening experience of what it may be like to have dementia on the Virtual Dementia Bus.
Orpington Businesses Becoming Dementia Friendly
Orpington continues to lead the way for local businesses making Bromley borough a dementia friendly community.
Orpington 1st is encouraging more local businesses in and around Orpington High Street to become dementia friendly with the launch of the new, annual Clayton-Turner Award in 2018. This award will go to one of the local businesses signing up to the BDAA and taking action to become more dementia friendly.
Innovation in Dementia Care Event
Bromley joined seven other London boroughs in being recognised as a local community working towards becoming more dementia friendly at the BDAA Innovation in Dementia Care event on 17th October 2017, held at the Bromley Civic Centre.
Opening the event with Angela Clayton-Turner, Samantha Buckland of the BDAA, said that with Bromley borough’s recognition and award, London is well on the way to becoming dementia friendly by 2020, with other London boroughs showing interest and working towards establishing themselves as dementia friendly communities.
Making it Easier for Bromley Residents to Access Dementia Support
Nikki Fishman, from the Bromley Dementia Support Hub, spoke about the role of the Hub in making it easier for Bromley residents diagnosed with dementia and their carers to access the support they need.
In the first 12 months of operation, the Hub has:
- received over 1,500 new enquiries
- run 35 workshops for family and friend carers, teaching them more about dementia, how it progresses and affects a person, effective communication skills and how to look after themselves
- delivered four Cognitive Stimulation Therapy courses (six session for each course) for people with mild to moderate dementia
- held 75 one-to-one, home-based, coaching sessions for 143 carers, supporting them to care for family or friends with dementia.
A Carer’s Perspective of Dementia
Lorraine McGlone cared for her husband, who had Alzheimer’s disease, for several years before he passed away. Lorraine shared how she saw her loving, well respected and professionally accomplished husband initially deteriorate slowly in his 50s.
Lorraine’s very personal talk moved everyone in the hall, reminding everyone that:
- dementia is not just about memory – symptoms often come in other forms – and we all need to be aware of these to be able to recognise them as early as possible
- there is a huge human impact of dementia on people’s personalities, identity and relationships
- caring for someone with dementia is a mammoth task for family carers who all provide invaluable care, that would otherwise costs tens of thousands of pounds, out of love and compassion.
The Importance of People in Dementia Care
Dementia ambassador and speaker, Keith Oliver, reiterated the point of remembering the human aspect of providing dementia support.
A former Head Teacher, Keith was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 55 years old. After attempting to continue work, Keith decided to speak and write about his experience of dementia (including charities, health and social care professionals, and the United Nations (UN) Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities).
Keith reminded the audience that everyone experiences dementia differently – there are things he did seven years ago when he was diagnosed, that he can’t do now. With the right support, people living with dementia can continue to live their lives and contribute valuable insights to our collective understanding of dementia.
Keith also emphasised that dementia is more than just clinical symptoms and diagnosis. Keith asked dementia health and social care professionals to engage with the person beyond the dementia and to involve them – understanding the whole person, their history, identity, culture, personal traits – to provide the best possible dementia care.
Bromley Metropolitan Police Reducing Risk to Missing People with Dementia
The Innovation in Dementia Care event was attended by Inspector Phyllis Rooney of the Bromley Metropolitan Police, sharing how they are using the Herbert Protocol.
The Herbert Protocol consists of an official form to be completed in advanced of anyone with dementia potentially going missing. It can be used by family carers or professional care providers to provide up-to-date details of a person’s habits, places to visit etc, so they can be found as quickly as possible.
Bromley MyTime Active Helping People with Dementia Stay Active
Chris King and colleagues from MyTime Active shared how their leisure centres in Bromley borough have been becoming dementia friendly, providing dementia friendly buddies to support people with dementia to engage in activities at the centres, whilst family carers take a break from caring.
How the NHS is Supporting People with Dementia
Staff from Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust spoke about how the Occupational Therapy team support people with dementia to live in their own homes. Assistive Technologies have a role to play in this, using data and monitoring to ensure that people with dementia are staying active and healthy as possible. Answering questions from the the audience, Oxleas NHS Foundation did emphasise that Assistive Technologies should be just that – assistive. They should not replace or be a substitute for in-person care for people with dementia and technology should only be used as a supporting tool.
Red Bags Helping NHS and Care Homes Work Better Together
In the afternoon, the Innovation in Dementia Care event was chaired by Angela Bhan, Chief Officer of NHS Bromley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Christine Harger (Quality Assurance Manager at NHS Sutton CCG), and Don Shenker (Healthy Ageing Project Manager at South London Health Innovation Network) shared details of the Red Bag scheme, to help people living in Sutton care homes receive quick and effective treatment if they need to go into hospital in an emergency.
When a care home resident needs to go into hospital, a red bag containing their personal belongings, personal details, information on health conditions, medication and a change of clothes is packed for them. The Red Bag also contains a “This Is Me” document which stays with the resident throughout their hospital stay and contains information on the individual’s preferences, likes, dislikes and interests.
The Red Bag stays with the patient whilst they are in hospital and with all the necessary information included, the care home resident can be treated more effectively, quickly and with more dignity when they go into hospital. This new approach had led to older people spending less time in hospital – eight days on average, which is four days fewer than before the scheme started.
Esther Watts, Senior Officer Dementia Friendly Communities – London at Alzheimer’s Society, commented on Bromley being recognised as a dementia friendly community:
“Alzheimer’s Society has challenged the Mayor and all Londoners to help us make London the first dementia friendly capital city in the world by 2020. Organisations like the Bromley Dementia Action Alliance are doing just that. We are making brilliant progress in London with more and more communities having their work recognised as working towards becoming dementia friendly.
Well done Bromley!
We are celebrating all the work you have done, and events like this also help us hatch more plans for the future. There is a lot to celebrate and a lot to do!
On a London level, we are working with transport organisations: Transport for London through their accessibility team, their bus driver communications department including with individual bus garages; we are working with community transport organisations across London, taxi companies and the London Taxi Drivers’ Association and, not forgetting, patient transport.
We are also working with the Emergency Services on systems to help people with dementia, for example, the roll-out of the Herbert Protocol in boroughs where there is no other system to find people more quickly if they get lost and are living with dementia. We know that your Alliance is also working hard with these services to make their staff Dementia Friends.
Thank you, Bromley, together we will make London a dementia friendly city!“