Hull Dementia Collaborative is leading the way in finding new ways to support people fighting dementia. Opened by Cllr. Helena Spencer, the event held inside Prince’s Quay, saw a wide range of groups and organisations from health and social care, the charitable and voluntary sector and dementia service users, all coming together during National Dementia Awareness Week.
Hull’s Dementia Collaborative was launched with the goal of improving the lives of people living with dementia; from the person affected by the disease, to their carers, friends and family members. By creating opportunities for collaboration across agencies they work together to support those fighting dementia.
‘We meet on a regular basis and work to ensure that the best possible care is provided by all organisations to those living with dementia.‘ Dr. A. Symes Chair of the Dementia Collaborative
The event held in the city centre, saw a programme of speakers from health and social care organisations, the voluntary and charitable sector alongside academic and research sectors and the emergency services. Entertainment came in the form of lively musical interludes, from perennial favourites The Hut People. The speakers, service users, stall holders and visitors alike, were encouraged to join in the Brazilian samba rhythms, by shaking and banging a profusion of percussive instruments.
Midday saw a flash mob by pupils from Francis Askew Primary School, highlighting and celebrating the cross-generational work between the Butterflies Memory Loss Support Group and the school over the past six years. A representative from the school said:
‘The Butterflies group are part of the school family, they teach the pupils about acceptance and understanding and the pupils teach them in return.’
Prizes were awarded to three Francis Askew pupils for creating the winning design for the new Hull Dementia Collaborative logo. The strap line perfectly encapsulates the aims of the group.
With an air of youthful spirit inspired by the school children, the Lower Deck rocked and rolled, as young and older danced together to ‘The Twist.’ They created quite a spectacle for the shoppers in Princes Quay, joined as they were, by Hull legend the Bee Lady Jean Bishop and Bumblebee, the yellow bug from the Transformers movies.
Stall holders and speakers shared information on what they are doing within their own organisations and how they are finding ways to work across agencies to provide a better service for all those affected by dementia including patients, carers and their families.
It was surprising to learn that up until three years ago there was no educational input specifically towards dementia in nursing and carers qualifications. Now Hull offers dementia specific modules at intermediate, degree and Masters level.
A demonstration by Hull First drew much attention, as they showcased a modular system called ‘The Raiser’ that fits together around the patient lying prone, then raises them safely to a sitting position. The Falls Team based at East Hull Fire Station aim to reach incidents, within one hour of receiving the call, they also offer safety checks and work alongside wider fire prevention initiatives.
The wide range of thirty or more stall holders indicated just how much is already happening within dementia services in Hull:
- Dementia Training through Hull Dementia Academy
- New technologies connected to the emergency services
- Home visits by emergency services for fire and fall prevention
- Support groups that provide activity-led workshops with music and movement, day trips for service users and their carers
- Memory Cafes that provide a welcome and safe environment in locations throughout the area
- Support, Information and Advice Services for carers and their families
- East Yorkshire Motor Services training their drivers in dementia awareness
- Vital research studies making for a better understanding of dementia
There were representatives from Untold Hull, a Hull Libraries initiative that encourages people from all walks of life to share their life stories. This kind of reminiscing work promotes the idea that a person living with dementia has just as much value and something important to offer, as anyone else does. There’s a ‘Library Link’ service where librarians can do home visits for those not able to access their local library. The library also carry publications through the ‘Reading Well’ scheme with large text and glossy images, that evoke memories specifically designed to help those with dementia, their carers and families.
“To the jaunty sound of the hornpipe I was joined by a lady called Linda. It was clear she had been wanting to get up and join in the fun for sometime and when she did the smile on her face said it all. Reinforcing yet again that one of the easiest and immediate ways, to help those fighting dementia is to find something fun you can all do together.”
Visitors to the event were encouraged to make a pledge to support dementia, by finding ways they can help improve the daily lives of dementia service users locally. This could be participating in research studies, being active on social media, volunteering at a support group such as Butterflies…
The event attracted good crowds throughout the day, the various stall holders reported strong interest from visitors to the event and other professionals working to improve the lives of those living with dementia.
Written on behalf of Butterflies Memory Loss Support Group