Aylsham becomes Norfolk’s fourth dementia friendly town

Jo Mountjoy-Dixon, dementia lead for Age UK Norfolk. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

Jo Mountjoy-Dixon, dementia lead for Age UK Norfolk. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2009

Tips on better interaction with dementia sufferers and their carers will be on offer for businesses, organisations and groups in a north Norfolk town.

A trio of free workshops will be available to people in Aylsham which has become the fourth dementia friendly community in Norfolk.

The Aylsham Care Trust (ACT) and Age UK Norfolk project aims to make the whole community aware of challenges for dementia sufferers and carers in town centres and how to ease them through communication.

Jo Mountjoy-Dixon, dementia lead for Age UK Norfolk, said: 'The businesses are quite interested and enthusiastic.

'The project is an important service. I feel businesses need to be on board. It is something that will touch everybody at some point of their lives.

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'The statistics show one in three of us will have dementia before the year 2020. With that ratio, it will affect everybody and businesses need to wise up about how they can help now.

'Anywhere where there is an ageing population, dementia is becoming a big issue.'

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Common problems facing people with dementia include not remembering personal identification numbers for debit or credit cards; forgetting to pay for items before leaving shops; taking time at check outs; and not being able to find toilets in businesses or their cars in towns.

Carers, which include relatives, friends or partners, can also become anxious in shops because of their situation.

Advice from Age UK Norfolk will teach people how to speak to people with all levels of dementia, from undiagnosed to severe.

People just need to complete one three-hour workshop and will get a sticker to say their business or organisation is dementia friendly.

They will receive a toolkit of tips and ongoing support.

Miss Mountjoy-Dixon added: 'The steps businesses can take are small. It is about providing an excellent service.'

These include giving people time and space to pay for goods, being aware of the shop or group environment and putting up understandable signs.

'When people can still get out in their community and live as normal a life as possible it does help them by reducing their isolation and depression,' Miss Mountjoy-Dixon said.

Being able to go around the community easily helps cognitive skills and boosts confidence for both sufferers and carers.

Groups can also be the only interaction for some of these individuals.

All the workshops will be held at the ACT Centre, St Michael's Avenue, Aylsham, on Tuesday September 30, Tuesday October 14 and Tuesday October 28 between 5.30pm and 8.30pm.

Contact Tina Neil on 01603 787111 for details.

Other dementia-friendly towns are Wymondham, Swaffham and Diss.

Do you have a health story? Email adam.gretton@archant.co.uk

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