Stephen Gethins MP calls on local businesses and organisations to follow suit and sign up to dementia training
The North East Fife constituency office of Stephen Gethins MP has become one of the first in the UK to be designated ‘Dementia Friendly’.
The local MP and his staff took the opportunity to have training with representatives of Dementia Friendly St Andrews project and Ruth McCabe of Fife Council, who has been delivering training across the Kingdom.
Stephen Gethins MP said: “The Dementia Friendly programme is so important, and I am glad to see many local businesses, especially in St Andrews and Cupar, taking this on. It is also good to hear that all Fife councillors and staff are also being trained up and that so many organisations and charities like Fife Carers, for example, are on board.
“People with dementia and their families need support and we need to increase our understanding of how we give that support and make their lives easier. I am very grateful to Lesley Haines, her daughter Vanessa and granddaughter Maisie, for raising the profile of dementia training locally, and also to Dr Maggie Ellis of the University of St Andrews, who is working with them as part of her research into the disease, and to mark their efforts I put down a parliamentary motion https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/53198/importance-of-dementia-friendly-training-for-mps-offices
“It is important to me that the constituency office and my parliamentary advice surgeries are as open and accessible as possible and if someone comes to us then we may be able to recognise this and help them. People with dementia and their families should feel welcome and part of our communities and I hope that we can help inspire other local businesses and organisations to become Dementia Friendly too.”
Vanessa Dury, whose father Jack Haines had Alzheimer’s disease for 13 years, said that while it was sometimes difficult because of his illness, her father benefitted from continuing to enjoy his favourite pastimes and socialising.
The family have now created a new leaflet which offers a guide to events taking place in the St Andrews area that are suitable for people with dementia including cinema nights and groups like the Men’s Shed.
She said: “It is really important that people with dementia can continue to enjoy and benefit from social interaction and we hope that by producing these leaflets and talking to businesses and organisations that they will embrace the Dementia Friendly project which is good for everyone, not just those with dementia.”
Ruth McCabe, who led the training, said that with one in three people over 65 likely to be diagnosed with some form of dementia, it is vital that we get over the ‘immobilizing’ fear of the disease. She said that early diagnosis can also make all the difference to the person’s quality of life going forward and indeed prolong it.
“If people are diagnosed early enough and are put on the right medication then they can continue to go on and have a good quality of life and with the right support, can avoid reaching a crisis point before they need help. Our hope is that the more people who take part in the training and have a better understanding of dementia, the easier it will be to support those who have it and those who care for them.”
For more information on how you can become Dementia Friendly visit https://www.dementiafriendsscotland.org/