I have Alzheimer’s, there is no cure as yet (But there will be soon I hope) but does that mean I have no hopes for the future? Does that mean I have given up and will accept whatever will come my way? NO!! These are my hope`s for the future and these are a few of my ideas to take us all forward into the future, a future that could be a lot easier with the co operation of not only Ministers but also the Corporate bosses who could make such a difference, if only some of them would listen.
I have a meeting with the South West Dementia Partnership next Monday the 24th Oct in Bridgewater and these will be my proposals, let me know what you think.
First of all I would like you to remember the signage you used to see outside of most companies and Tourist Industries, it was a plaque that said “IIP” or Investors In people” what I want to do is to translate that into a plaque that will say “DA” or “Dementia Aware” This can be done a numerous amount of ways which we will come to later, but these are my reasons why I think this could not only work locally but be rolled out all over the country.
As a person with Dementia, if for example I wanted to go on holiday but I was worried how I may be perceived, as I flipped through the Holiday Brochures (For example) if I had a choice of staying at a hotel or Holiday camp which had a DA (dementia aware) symbol, or staying somewhere without the symbol, where do you think I would stay?? I think the answer is quite clear. Whilst I know there are some very good Dementia Activities companies out there who do a great job, personally I don’t want to be looked at as someone with Dementia who needs specialist holidays and at a very high cost as well I might add. I just want to go on holiday like everybody else, and have the choice of where I want to go and not where others think will be suitable.
The net can also be spread wider, why not involve the likes of Tesco`s, Iceland, Asda and all the other shopping giants who could take a little time out training their staff in Dementia awareness? Railways, Coaches, Buses, Banks, the list is huge!! We have, as always, to take this step by step and as you probably know taking my time is not really my forte but with this I promise I will try loll. I will suggest to the South west Dementia partnership that we approach the South west Tourist board and invite them to maybe the next meeting where they can listen to our ideas and also have their input.
As always there is a cost to this and as we know there really isn’t that much money about at the moment, but we can spread the cost by inviting people like the South West Tourist Board and the Hoteliers and Holiday industries to all commit to sharing in this and taking it forward. We can invite them to sit round a table with us and hopefully start to change the way dementia is perceived. So what’s in it for the Touristy boards I hear them ask?
If the South West Area is marketed as the first place in the Uk to have Dementia awareness training in place and plaques erected, can you imagine, with our aging population as it is at the moment, and not forgetting the people with early onset of Dementia, the amount of revenue which could be gained from more business, and part of that revenue could then be ploughed back to offset any costs incurred, because people will be reassured that will they will have a better and more restful holiday than usual. They will be happy in the knowledge that their partners, wives, husbands, mums or dads won’t be looked at by staff in a strange way when something a little out of the ordinary happens. I am not talking about respite or anything like that but just a general better understanding of dementia by people in their workplace no matter what they do.
So, now we go to the training. Surprisingly we already have the training tool in place, it’s the WHAT WORKS CARD`S “of course. These could be distributed among the tourist industry (Just to start with) and advisers could be on hand to help the trainers in the workplace. These cards have a very special place in my heart as they were produced by not only people like myself but also the very professionals I have always wanted to sit round a table with and discuss the way forward regarding Dementia. Could I please ask you to consider these proposals and please let me know your views on it, I just want to test the water so to speak before I out it out there and hopefully take it forward,
best wishes, norms and family.