A charity is putting the focus on helping carers of people living with dementia at a series of free workshops.

Age UK Norwich is running simple, friendly information workshops at easy-to-reach locations around Norwich for anyone who is struggling to support a person diagnosed with dementia, including tips on the best ways to communicate and understanding common behaviour associated with the condition.

Marie Lucas, dementia development lead for the city-based charity, said: 'We have already held three sessions, and they have gone really well. One gentleman whose mother recently had a dementia diagnosis told us that, after getting the diagnosis from her GP, he had not known where to go next or what help was available. That is something we often hear. What we are trying to do is to empower carers and give them confidence. We can 'signpost' them to what other help is available, and we can also give them tips and information about coping with everyday situations.'

Age UK Norwich is one of the founders of Norwich City Dementia Action Alliance - launched in January - which is bringing businesses and other organisations together, with Norwich City Council, in a bid to make Norwich a dementia friendly city. This newspaper is a member of the alliance, and has pledged to train staff as Dementia Friends, as well as running regular articles highlight the issues which affect so many families today.

Mrs Lucas added: 'One of the key approaches we emphasise is that when communicating with people with dementia they should think about what's important to that person, so that they can personalise the care. Do they like bingo, for example? Or do they like having family around? The other aspect is about involving them - engaging with the person in small decisions, so that they can still be as independent as possible. It might mean something as simple as letting them choose the clothes they are going to wear, for example. It's about treating people with dignity and respect, and we find this helps the carer, too. There is a great deal we can do, through these workshops, to make life easier.'

• The next session is on August 9, 10am to noon, at Witard Road Baptist Church, Norwich. For more information, call 01603 496381 or email marie.lucas@ageuknorwich.org.uk