Warwickshire’s 10,000 Dementia Friends Challenge – a call to action!

Warwickshire now has over 7,000 Dementia Friends, which is a huge achievement.  But we still need your support to reach our target of 10,000 Dementia Friends in Warwickshire by the end of June.

Please help us to create a more Dementia Friendly Warwickshire and become a Dementia Friend today! If you are already a Dementia Friend, you could encourage someone else to get involved.

It takes just five minutes to become a Dementia Friend; just follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/
  2. Go to ‘Register and watch the video’
  3. Enter your details on the website
  4. Watch the video
  5. Add your address and a Dementia Friend badge and Little Book of Friendship will then be sent through the post.

It’s as simple as that – become a Dementia Friend today!

If you use Twitter, please let us know that you have got involved:

@WCCPublicHealth            @DementiaCandW

Dementia Friends Information Sessions can be delivered at one of your informal meetings, among a group of friends or at work.

Sessions last up to one hour. If you would like to enquire about holding a session for people you know (provided they are based in Coventry or Warwickshire), please contact us on dementiapartnership at warwickshire.gov.uk

Thank you for your support!

Musical Memories at The Moorings – new Dementia Cafe in Leamington Spa

Musical Memories at The Moorings

Are you living or caring for someone with Dementia? If so the Musical Memories Café could be for you.

The café aims to:

  • Support people, their families and carers living with memory problems.
  • Recognize the importance music can play in bridging memories.
  • Encourage socialising with others in similar circumstances.
  • Enable carers to share experiences, emotions and understanding.

What activities can I expect?

  • Listening to and joining musicians and volunteers in ‘making music’.
  • Sharing experiences and emotions in relaxed, informal surroundings.

What does it cost?

The café is FREE.

Where does the Café operate?

The Moorings Bar and Restaurant,

Myton Road, Leamington Spa, CV31 3NY


10.00am-12.00pm the last Monday every month (except bank holidays)

If you are interested in attending, please contact Age UK Warwickshire for further information:

Telephone: 01926 458100

Living with Dementia – Kevin’s story

My name is Hilary and I am married to Kevin, who lives with Alzheimer’s.

We have been together for the last 46 years – and they have been quite eventful!  We have moved house numerous times, and lived in Australia for 6 years, 4 of them in a remote iron ore mining town on the edge of the Gibson dessert. In 1978 we returned to England with our two daughters who were born in Perth, Western Australia, became foster parents to five teenagers, and adopted a baby with Downs Syndrome.  In the space of three years our family grew from the 4 of us to 10.  Life was busy to say the least!

Our Christian faith is central to our lives, and for 10 years Kevin was the Pastor of an Independent Baptist church in Southend-on-Sea.  Towards the latter part of his ministry there it was becoming obvious that he was having problems with his memory, and whereas it had never been a problem for him to prepare and preach a sermon, things were becoming more and more difficult.  Coupled with the memory problems Kevin also had a sleep disorder, and would often fall asleep at work without realising it.

After various tests at the local hospital, we were informed that it was unlikely that Kevin would work again. We decided to downsize and re-located back to Leamington, where several members of our family lived. There was also a specialist home nearby which could cater for our special needs son, who by this time was in his early 20s.

There was now just the two of us living in a retirement flat.  Kevin had many tests to try and pinpoint what was causing his memory problems, which by this time were getting steadily worse, but no specific diagnosis was given, which Kevin found very frustrating.

Our main source of help and support came from the Alzheimer’s Society, and during one ‘cafe’ we were approached by a Consultant, who, after talking to us both, arranged for Kevin to be seen by Dr. A at a local mental health centre.  Even though Kevin had been on medication for Alzheimer’s prescribed by our GP, he still hadn’t been given a reason why he was on this.

After many years of not knowing what was really happening, Dr. A finally told Kevin that he had Alzheimer’s.  For many people that would be a real shock, but for Kevin it was a relief.  At long last we had a concrete reason for the difficulties he had been experiencing.  Alzheimer’s is not a diagnosis anyone wants to have, but sometimes knowing that there is something wrong, but not knowing what, is even more difficult.

Eleven years have now past since Kevin had to stop working, and although the illness has inevitably progressed, he is still able to enjoy some measure of independence.  One of the most useful tools he uses is a card made for him by the local Alzheimer’s Society stating that he has Alzheimer’s disease.  When he goes to the local shops, he shows a member of staff the card and they accompany him round the shop to make sure that he gets the right things on his shopping list, and help sort out his money.  The staff in these shops have been really helpful, and Kevin no longer has to worry about getting the wrong thing, or forgetting something altogether.  Full marks to all the establishments who have signed up to become Dementia Friendly – it makes a huge difference to the lives of both those with dementia and their carers!

We have trialled a few tracking devices over the past few years, none of which have been very successful, and although the new smart phones can incorporate a tracking system, these types of phones are far too difficult for people with dementia to use.

Kevin has a special phone made by Doro.  It only has 4 buttons, marked A,B, C&D, next to which you can write a person’s name.  For him A is home, B is my mobile, C is his brother, & D is one of our daughters. It also has an SOS button for emergencies.  At the moment Kevin can still use this (usually!) and it means we can keep in contact with each other if he goes out.

Life does not have to end when dementia begins but it can often bring many difficulties. Ever the optimist, Kevin often says ‘well it doesn’t hurt’; physically that may be so, but psychologically things are much harder.

When someone tells you they have Alzheimer’s or dementia NEVER say ‘I can’t see anything wrong with you’ or ‘Oh we all forget things’.  You wouldn’t say that to someone who told you they had cancer, or some other illness, so just try to listen and treat people with kindness!

If you would like to learn more about Hilary and Kevin’s experiences of living with dementia, please visit Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Portal’ Dementia Friendly Communities page and watch the short Dementia Friendly Warwickshire video clip. 

Dementia Awareness Week 2015 – diary of events (Warwickshire)

Dementia Awareness Week 2015 will be held between 17th and 23rd May.

The theme of this year’s Dementia Awareness Week is ‘Life doesn’t end when dementia begins’ and the events held during the week will focus around raising awareness of the condition and that people with dementia can live well with the right support.

This year, Warwickshire County Council and partners have teamed up with Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire to put on a number of ‘Signing for the Brain’ events across the county. There will be one main singing event held in each district and borough, and the Dementia Friends campaign song ‘With a little help from my friends’ (by the Beatles) will be performed by local community choirs in public spaces.

The ‘Singing for the Brain’ events in Warwickshire will be held as follows:

  • Warwick District: Saturday 16th May at 2pm – Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa & Warwick Hospital, Lakin Road, Warwick
  • Rugby Borough: Saturday 16th May at 2pm – Rugby Library, Little Elborow Street, Rugby
  • North Warwickshire Borough: Saturday 16th May at 2pm – Atherstone Market Square, Atherstone
  • Stratford District: Sunday 17th May at 2pm – High Street, Alcester
  • Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough: Wednesday 20th May at 1pm – Nuneaton Market Stall, Nuneaton Town Centre

There will also be a range of other individual awareness raising events, held across Warwickshire by different organisations, community groups and in GP surgeries.

If you would like to find out about events held in your local area, please contact Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Partnership on dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

Every action counts! Tweet about your event or action using the hashtag #CWDAW2015 or #DoSomethingNew, or email the Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Partnership on dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk with some details we could promote on your behalf!

Dementia Awareness Week 2015 (17-23rd May) – a call to action!

Coventry and Warwickshire’s Dementia Action Alliance* would like to invite people living and working in Warwickshire to participate in this year’s Dementia Awareness Week, which will take place from 17th – 23rd May 2015. Dementia Awareness Week is supported nationally by the Alzheimer’s Society.

There are an estimated 7,800 people living with dementia in Warwickshire; this is predicted to increase by 30% in the next ten years. Therefore, it is likely that many people will either know someone with dementia or become affected by the illness at some point in their lives.

What could you do?

Some of the easy ways you could do to contribute to raising awareness of dementia could be, for example, displaying dementia awareness related information in a public space, distributing resources that raise awareness of dementia (we can provide those) in your local community or holding a Dementia Friends information session during a coffee morning or a regular group get together.

Becoming a Dementia Friend is about understanding a bit more about dementia and the small things that can help people with the condition. You don’t need to already know someone with dementia to become a Dementia Friend.

These are only suggestions and we invite you to be creative about your own ideas on how you could get involved.

You would not be expected to give detailed expert dementia advice to members of the public who attend your event.

Tweet about your event using the hashtag #CWDAW2015 or email Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance on dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk with a photo we could post on Twitter to promote your event to the world! (don’t forget to obtain all necessary permissions before using the image).

What are the benefits to you?

By helping us to raise awareness of dementia and how it can impact a person’s life, you are helping to improve people’s understanding of the condition and therefore – support more people with dementia, and their carers to feel confident about accessing their local community.

You could also attract new people to join your group or use your services as part of your dementia awareness raising activities. You may also be able to build up new networks with other groups in your community.

What resources / support will be available?

To support you we will provide you with some dementia awareness raising information resources (including leaflets, bookmarks, and posters), a ‘Dementia Friendly Warwickshire’ DVD and a poster to advertise your event.


If you have any questions about running an event during Dementia Awareness Week 2015 please contact us by phone (01926 742214) or email: dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

We are looking forward to hearing back from you!

* The Alliance is made up of a number of organisations working together across Coventry and Warwickshire to raise awareness of dementia and to develop dementia friendly communities.

Warwickshire County Council staff support Dementia Friends

Early in the new year a call went out to Warwickshire County Council staff to encourage them to sign up as a Dementia Friend. The response so far has been really positive with many staff taking part in Dementia Friends Information Sessions, either individually or through team meetings.

Since December the number of Dementia Friends in Warwickshire has increased from 2,353 to 3,620 in March. But there is still a way to go to meet the ambitious target of 10,000 Dementia Friends in Warwickshire by June, so the continued support is needed.

Dementia Friends is an initiative led by the Alzheimer’s Society based on the principle that people with dementia can live well with a little help from other people. Becoming a Dementia Friend is about understanding a bit more about dementia and the small things that can help people with the condition. You don’t need to already know someone with dementia to become a Dementia Friend.

If you would like to become a Dementia Friend it’s very easy and just requires a short time commitment. There are three ways you can get involved.

1. Attend an hour long Dementia Friends Information session. Everyone who attends a session and wants to become a Dementia Friend will get a Dementia Friends badge and information card. You can book a place by going online and visiting the national Dementia Friends website: www.dementiafriends.org.uk

2. Watch a brief video on the Dementia Friends’ website www.dementiafriends.org.uk and leaving your details on the site so you can be sent your Dementia Friends badge and Little Book of Friendship.


3. Groups may want to hold a group Dementia Friends Information session, perhaps as part of their regular meeting. If you would like to find out more about this please email: dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

Participants’ feedback

Here’s some feedback from those Warwickshire County Council staff who have completed their Dementia Friends Information session:

“I just wanted to thank you for coming to our Team Briefing this morning and talking to us about Dementia Friends. I personally found it really interesting, and thought you presented it extremely well”

“I didn’t get a chance to say how much I appreciated yesterday’s training session. You made it very varied and a lot of staff were talking about it through the day and said how interesting they found it. The analogy about the bookcases was very clear and thought provoking.”

“I learnt such a lot.”

For any enquiries please contact Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Partnership at dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

Warwickshire’s Community Support Services for People with Dementia

Warwickshire’s Dementia Community Support Services

Warwickshire County Council have redesigned community support services for people with dementia following a public consultation held as part of Warwickshire’s Living Well with Dementia Strategy refresh in 2014 and the engagement outcomes. Benefits of the new services will include improved provision of information and advice to people with dementia and their carers, reducing their risk of loneliness and social isolation and preventing avoidable admissions to acute care.

The following services will commence on 1st April 2015:

Dementia Day Opportunities

The aim of the Dementia Day Opportunities service is to help maintain the skills, health & wellbeing and social inclusion of people with dementia whilst providing them with an opportunity to participate in a variety of meaningful activities (for example, reminiscence therapy, music and movement or arts and crafts) and offering respite for their carers. The dementia day opportunities service may be both building based and/or provided in the community, depending on the needs of individuals.

The service may only be accessed via a Social Care Assessment and referrals will be accepted from Adult Social Care, secondary mental health services e.g. Memory Assessment Clinician, GPs, mental health teams, Warwickshire’s Dementia Navigator service or those who self fund their care. Please contact Warwickshire County Council to check if you or the person you look after are eligible for this service (Tel. 01926 410410).

The dementia day opportunities service will be available 5 days a week across Warwickshire. The service will be provided by Age UK in Nuneaton and Bedworth, North Warwickshire and Rugby boroughs (Tel. 01926 458100), and Alzheimer’s Society in Warwick and Stratford districts (Tel. 01926 888899).

Dementia Navigators

Dementia Navigators will provide early intervention and preventative post diagnosis support through:

  • A single point of access to information and advice following a diagnosis of dementia or to those going through the diagnosis journey
  • Signposting to support services available in a person’s locality e.g. dementia cafes or carers support groups
  • Practical and emotional support to people with dementia diagnosis and their carers
  • Signposting to or provision of training around dementia awareness and coping strategies for family carers

People can self refer to the service, or be referred by their GP, health or social care staff.

There will be four (full time equivalent) Dementia Navigators covering all the county. Contact with the service will be via telephone, email and/or face to face depending on individual needs and preferences. The Dementia Navigators service will be provided by Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire (Tel. 01926 888899).

In addition to the services outlined above, there are also a range of other initiatives and services in Warwickshire to support people to live well with Dementia.

Please visit Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia portal for more details: www.livingwellwithdementia.org, or contact us on dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance – a year on …

In 2012 the Prime Minister launched his Challenge on Dementia outlining a set of commitments to improve the lives of people with dementia and carers. One of those commitments was to work to create dementia friendly communities across the UK.

Coventry and Warwickshire embraced this challenge and in January 2014 formed Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance – a partnership of local organisations and businesses signed up to make the region more dementia friendly.

All communities, organisations and businesses pledging to become dementia friendly in Coventry and Warwickshire are expected to work towards the following core principles:
• Enhanced awareness and understanding of dementia – for example, by offering basic awareness training to staff, sharing information about dementia via newsletters or referring to Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Portal website for more information on dementia and support services available locally (www.livingwellwithdementia.org)
• Aiming to provide a dementia friendly environment
• Developing positive attitudes towards the delivery of services to those most vulnerable in our society

There are currently 28 members of Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance, for example Warwickshire Fire and Rescue service, George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton or Shipston on Stour community, all contributing to making Warwickshire a dementia friendly county. The full list of member organisations can be seen on the national Dementia Action Alliance website:
Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance

As an Alliance, we have developed our local approach and guidance around creating dementia friendly communities in Warwickshire, and awareness raising resources. We are closely linking in with Public Health around development of healthy living campaigns and initiatives e.g. Pictures to Share books, Books on Prescription or Exercise on referral scheme for people with dementia.

We have developed dementia awareness training for staff and people working in the community – so far, more than 400 staff across Warwickshire have attended this course and improved their knowledge of dementia.

We have also produced a short video clip to make people aware of Warwickshire’s initiative and how people can become involved; this clip also explains how local businesses and organisations can become dementia friendly by showcasing examples of those that are already working towards this. Copies of this DVD can be obtained for free by any organisation or business signed up to the Alliance or viewed on the Dementia Friendly Communities page of the Living Well with Dementia Portal.

As part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Partnership’s commitment to making Coventry and Warwickshire dementia friendly, the Council has set the ambitious target of encourage 8000 people to pledge their support to people with dementia, which will take the number of ‘dementia friends’ across the County to 10 000 (Warwickshire’s Dementia Friends Challenge 2015)

There will be a number of Dementia Friends sessions scheduled across Warwickshire, available to local residents, and people will be able to book a place through the Dementia Friends website in the next couple of weeks.

If you would like more details on how to sign up to become dementia friendly and/or if you wish to join the regional Dementia Action Alliance, please contact Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance on dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

How Touchscreen Technology can Benefit People with Dementia

Touchscreen technology is part of our lives these days. We cannot imagine how we would be without devices such as iPads, tablets or smartphones. Tablets (mobile computers with touchscreens) are relatively lightweight and can be carried around like a book. They are very easy to switch on and navigate, and there is a great variety of apps that could be downloaded onto the device allowing a quicker access to those.

Many of us don’t realise however, that touchscreen technology can also be effectively used by and with people who have dementia. The devices can be used on a one-to-one basis or in a group setting and can involve life-story, reminiscence work, or offer an aid to social interaction and be a great tool for starting up conversations. Thus, helping a person with dementia to use a tablet can often allow getting to know them better through greater understanding of their needs, past hobbies, likes and dislikes.

A tablet could also enable people with dementia to communicate with their younger family members and so improving intergenerational communications.

There are 835,000 people living with dementia in the UK in 2014; according to the projections, there will be over 1 million by 2021 (1,007,485) and 2 million by 2051 (2,092,945) people with dementia in the UK. 61% of people with dementia felt anxious or depressed and 40% felt lonely recently (Dementia 2014 report, Alzheimer’s Society)

Talking with people who have dementia about their lives can create positive emotional experiences, reduce their stress or agitation and improve their mood. As dementia is brain failure that affects all five senses, using touch screen technology can appeal not only to touch but also senses of hearing, vision and in some apps – using voice to give commands or sing.

In 2013, Warwickshire County Council, in partnership with Worcester University and Galanos House in Southam, held a project on the use of touchscreen technology with people who have dementia.

During the project, residents were enabled to engage in a variety of activities including:
• Gaming/entertainment applications e.g. snakes and ladders, feed the fish, talking Tom, playing the piano, skittles, crosswords
• Taking pictures e.g. photos of the residents baking
• Emailing and video calling external family members to keep them informed of how they are and what they are doing.
• Watching video clips on You Tube to help residents reminisce about their past including their past interests e.g. what music they liked, hobbies, favourite football teams etc.
• The use of video clips and information on ‘how to’ do certain activities on YouTube for example doing paper mache or baking a cake
• Downloading and listening to music
• Using the history app to reminisce about war time stories

Staff observed the residents and recorded for how long and what activities they did with the iPad, in a log book. The content of the staff log books was then analysed to identify common themes. Findings of the project confirmed that using touchscreen technology with people with dementia can improve communication, stimulate their memory recall, and contribute to helping them ‘Live Well with Dementia’.

Below is a list of example apps that could be used by people with dementia; we haven’t evaluated any of these, nor can we formally recommend them.

Skype: Talk to friends and family with an instant message, voice or video call on Skype for free.

Fish Pond: Make sure you have the volume turned up and the effects and ambience turned on to create realistic water sloshing noises when you touch the screen. Immerse yourself in an entirely new pond experience. Listen to the soothing forest ambience. Drag your fingers across the water and see the ripples bounce up and down. Flick your wrist to cast the rod.

Line Art: Creates magical patterns on the screen which move according to the person’s finger movements on the touchscreen. When left alone, the particles will start moving on their own.

Simon Says: Improves learning and memory skills through remembering the sequence of buttons and repeat them in the same order.

150 years of world history: Just 150 years ago the world was an entirely different place: using this app we watch the world change one year at a time, as it moves from the late Age of Empires through two world wars, the Cold War, and modern times. Every year carries its own importance and this app focuses both on the large defining events of history as well as some lesser-known but still important developments that took place.

Let’s Create! Pottery: With this app one can make pottery by throwing the clay on the wheel and create your own pots. The experience is relaxing, therapeutic and uplifting as you see the pots made.

Doodle Buddy: a simple drawing app that can be used to draw, write, virtually finger paint, and even stamp pictures onto fun backgrounds that are provided.

Sand Garden: Drag your fingers along the screen to create a pattern in the sand, add a rock using the menu at the bottom of the screen, drag your rock to your desired positions to make it stand up, then just adjust the light to create a different atmosphere.

Fluid: turns the surface of the touch screen device into an interactive liquid. It’s a relaxing application that can keep one busy for a while.

You Tube: Watch the world’s videos, read comments or listen to favourite music – all in one place.

SoundPrism: This app takes the complexity out of creating music so that all you have to do is drag your finger across the screen of colour rectangles to produce some beautiful music and harmonies.
iReminisce: iReminisce is a life story, reminiscence and family inclusion app that helps alleviate loneliness, promotes socialisation and is proven to improve wellbeing for those living with a cognitive impairment such as dementia. iReminisce works on an iPad for the user telling their story and reminiscing and on the iPad and iPhone for family members who are interacting with their loved one living with a cognitive impairment.

If you would like more information on Warwickshire’s iPads and dementia project, please contact us on dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

FREE TRAINING – Dementia Awareness / Dementia Friendly Communities


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The Dementia Friendly Communities programme focuses on improving inclusion and quality of life for people with dementia. This is a national initiative developed by the Alzheimer’s Society.

Being dementia friendly is about being aware of the impact that dementia may have on a person and their life, and how this might affect their behaviour and ability to undertake everyday tasks. It is about organisations, communities and individuals enabling people with dementia to continue living a good life by making them feel supported, welcomed and encouraged about accessing their local community.

To enable people who work in front-line community services, health and social care organisations, to understand dementia better, Warwickshire County Council and Public Health Warwickshire developed FREE half day workshops focused around Dementia Awareness and Dementia Friendly Communities. Example ‘target groups’ for these workshops include staff who are likely to come into contact with people living with dementia or their carers as part of their day to day service provision, i.e. those working in general practices, pharmacies, libraries, leisure centres, environmental health and housing officers, etc.

Sessions also contribute to enhancing the skills of frontline workers in Making Every Contact Count.

Places for the workshops can be booked via the Warwickshire Interactive Learning Management System (WILMa): http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/wilma
• To locate the page for these workshops you will need to search for NS403
• If you do not have a WILMa account you will need to register on the website with your work email address.
• You will then receive two emails – one with your username and another with your temporary password. There may be a short delay before both arrive, so please be patient.
• You will then log in to WILMa using your username and password.
• You will then need to to search for NS403 which is the Dementia Awareness – Dementia Friendly Communities page
• By clicking on the link (name of the workshops) you will be taken through to the page where there is more information about the workshops.
• If you scroll down you will see a list of dates, venues and times.
• By clicking on the date you prefer you will be taken through to a page where you can make your booking.
• You will then receive an email confirming that you have been allocated a place.

Participants are required to undertake the SCIE Open Dementia Programme prior to attending the workshop. This is made up of seven modules which should take approximately 10 minutes each to complete. These are also available via WILMa.

If you have any questions, or would like more more information on the target groups, aims of the workshops, learning outcomes and dates/venues for the workshops, please contact: dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk



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