“How can you know what ‘dementia friendly’ communities look and feel like without involving people with dementia – and carers? We are the ones experiencing it. We are human beings with minds and voices.”
If we are to create truly dementia friendly communities, it is vital that they reflect the needs and aspirations of people with dementia themselves. DEEP has produced a new guidance note based on discussions with15 people with dementia and 8 carers at a networking event in 2015 http://dementiavoices.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/DEEP-Guide-Involving-people-with-dementia-in-Dementia-Friendly-Communities.pdf
The guidance highlights the many different ways in which people with dementia can take part in initiatives to make a community more dementia friendly. Many groups in the DEEP network are active in their communities. For example, the Bradford FIT group has helped in the planning for a new dementia crisis intervention team, a refurbishment of a local hospital, and a consultation on how the council spends it reduced budget. The group sits on all interview panels for new jobs at the Alzheimer’s Society locally and members have also assisted with interview panels for senior NHS staff. Members speak at public Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) meetings and local Dementia Friendly community meetings.
This great guide describes some approaches that can help people with dementia to be involved in creating dementia friendly communities. These include mystery shopping, ‘walking the patch’ dementia audits, working with schools and other youth groups, making films and using blogs or social media.
It also stresses that involving more people with dementia will continue to encourage others to express their views and opinions.