How can Cromer Museum be made more dementia-friendly?

A dementia-friendly group at Cromer Museum. From left, Laura Lodge, head of dementia lodge at Halsey

A dementia-friendly group at Cromer Museum. From left, Laura Lodge, head of dementia lodge at Halsey House; Amelia Worley, Age UK Norfolk; Hilary Chapman, member of the carer' caf�; John Rogers, carer at Danbury Dementia Unit; Gill Powell, mum in Halsey House; and Tammy Bacon whose father is in Halsey House. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

'Bright, natural light is good as darkness can be confusing and frightening. The black mat at the entrance to the museum could have been mistaken for a hole in the ground.'

How can Cromer Museum be made more dementia-friendly?

That was the aim of a visit to the popular attraction by Age Norfolk UK and staff from Cromer's Halsey House care home.

And many of the ways to make it more dementia-friendly could prove to be easy to achieve.

One of the them is just putting an extra chair outside the toilets. Another includes improving the lighting in some of the rooms.


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Amelia Worley, community development co-ordinator at Age Norfolk UK, said: 'We carried out an informal audit of the museum, noting down possible ways to make it more dementia-friendly. Small changes can make a big difference.'

Hilary Chapman. who attends the dementia cafe at Halsey House, came up with several suggestions to make the museum more dementia-friendly.

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She said: 'The toilets have still got the old-fashioned images of men and women on the doors. These are quite small so could be hard to pick out by people whose eyesight might be poor.

'For dementia sufferers everything needs to be more clear-cut and simple. People with dementia cannot process enough information, so you would not get an answer if you ask whether someone wants coffee or tea. But if you ask just one question, do you want tea, they will say yes or no. If you give people two statements the second will eliminate the first.

'Bright, natural light is good as darkness can be confusing and frightening. The black mat at the entrance to the museum could have been mistaken for a hole in the ground.'

The visitors did record several positives at the museum, which is obviously making an effort to make visitors feel welcome. Items from the 20th century, such as irons and gas lamps, are positive, as dementia sufferers with short-term loss can remember them from their childhoods.

Elizabeth Elmore, the museum's project assistant, said the suggestions would be taken on board.

Laura Lodge, head of dementia at Halsey House, said: 'The museum was the first business to invite the Cromer dementia-friendly communities along to look around and give guidance as to how it could be more dementia-friendly.

'We have been giving local shops free training in dementia and hopefully other shops will also get on board.'

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