At 4D we are always looking for new ways to support and understand the wider communities that we work with. Although our main focus has been within education for many years, in the last 18 months we’ve been working closely with Mersey Care NHS Trust creating immersive spaces for people living with dementia. The spaces are being used to encourage communication, inspire memories and create a sense of well being through person centred immersive experiences.
So, with that in mind 4D Group are developing ways of bringing the two worlds of education and healthcare together as part of an intergenerational project.
‘Educating children and young people about dementia is an essential aspect of creating dementia-friendly communities. Children and young people will increasingly come into contact with dementia through friends, family, neighbours or the media as the population ages and many may take on caring responsibilities at some stage in their lives.’ The Alzheimer’s Society
After the whole 4D team were trained to be Dementia Friends at the end of 2014, our training coordinator Inés and content developer Lauren went one step further to become Dementia Champions. The aim being for both to be able to spread the word even further to our schools and help develop dementia friendly communities.
If you’d like us to come to your school to run an immersive dementia friends event, please get in touch. The events are free and will give your pupils information on people living with dementia as approved by The Alzheimer’s Society. Just get in touch here and we can make a plan.
Explore some images of our immersive spaces and then read on for Lauren’s account of her day’s training to become a Dementia Champion:
The day was split into two sections – the first, a general introduction to Dementia Friends with a Dementia Friends Information Session given by Becky, the course leader. The second part of the day was focussed on presentation skills, planning and what it means to be a Dementia Champion.
When we arrived we were within a group of about 30 people, people from all different walks of life and different reasons for attending the session. It was really interesting to hear why people wanted to become Dementia Champions. The group ranged from a neuroscientist who has studied dementia for years to an African support worker who wanted to dispel myths within the African community that dementia doesn’t even exist and also included nurses working closely with people living with dementia, as well as individuals who have been affected by dementia on a personal level.
The day started with looking at typical Dementia Friends Session – this is what we were being trained to present and what we could bring to your school. The whole aim of the session is to understand the five key messages:
- Dementia is not a natural part of ageing
- It is caused by diseases of the brain
- It’s not just about memory loss
- It’s possible to live well with dementia
- There is more the person than the dementia
Throughout the sessions, which last only about an hour, you participate, are asked questions and most of all, you have fun! Overall though, you come out with a much better understanding of people who are living with dementia and people who are caring for those people.
The next session looked at the Dementia Friends Workshop in more detail and allowed us to ask questions. We were pleased to find that The Alzheimer’s Society have created resources especially for young people and a variety of different exercises to help make the concepts easier to grasp. Becky also confirmed that the sessions have worked really well in schools with pupils really gaining knowledge, understanding and readily becoming Dementia Friends.
The second half of the day looked at presentation skills and how to arrange your own sessions. It’s all well and good knowing the workshop but if you can’t inspire and engage people, the information is not going to be shared. Lots of practice and feedback later, I’m very pleased to confirm we passed and are now officially Dementia Champions ready and able to deliver this wonderful information to the public, businesses, your school staff or your pupils!
If you’re interested in finding out more about Dementia Friends or our Intergenerational project for schools or if you’d like to have a Dementia Friends Information Session in your school delivered by Inés or Lauren please get in touch.