Dementia Action Week in the month of May encourages awareness and community engagement through taking actions whether big or small to help improve the lives of those affected by dementia.

At The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT), we specialise in dementia care. The Trust has five Admiral Nurses (a lead and one in each OSJCT county) who spend time in the regional homes and not only care for residents living with dementia but help provide support for their loved ones, carers and the local community too.

Angie Williams, Lead Admiral Nurse, comments: “As an organisation, we celebrate Dementia Action Week as it is so important to try to break down barriers and the stigma associated with both dementia and care homes. Families and people from local communities are invited to join our homes for dementia awareness and life story events. Homes display a wide range of dementia related information during this week and the Admiral Nurses support Homes with events for families and people living with dementia.”

Dementia is a devastating illness and not only affects the person living with it, but those who love and care for the person as well. Understanding exactly what dementia is and how to support someone living with dementia can be confusing and overwhelming.

“We are always at hand to help provide support and information on dementia. This includes symptoms, understanding of the two most common forms of dementia - Alzheimer’s and Vascular dementia, how to get a diagnosis, sources of support for families and tips on how to communicate with someone living with dementia,” says OSJCT’s Admiral Nurse, Nicola Rowe. “It’s really important relatives talk to their loved one living with dementia, talk to each other, and talk to experts. It can be a very difficult conversation to have, and we are here to get the ball rolling on these conversations.”

The care homes in the Trust do regular activities to help their dementia residents. This can be through music therapy as seen at Monkscroft Care Centre in Cheltenham and animal therapy at Goodson Lodge in Trowbridge, The Lakes in South Cerney and Madley Park in Witney. Some examples of events taking place during Dementia Action week include Marden Court (Calne) holding ‘Dementia Friends’ sessions and Ashwood Care Centre (Warminster) having quizzes on dementia followed by helping at the local Blue Cross Charity shop. St Wilfrid’s Priory (Arundel) is organising an interactive theatre workshop with the local theatre company and school. Apple Trees is working closely with the Grantham Dementia Carers Support Group, who meet at St Anne’s church, to provide dementia training for the local community.