PRESS RELEASE 19/5/2015: Do something new this Dementia Awareness Week, says local charity

NATIONAL Dementia Awareness Week takes place across the UK this week, and the public are being urged to try something new as part of the campaign to raise awareness and reduce stigma.

Local people who wish to contribute to the cause or help to raise awareness amongst the public might consider undertaking dementia friendly training or making their nearby environments more welcoming and accessible to anyone affected by dementia.

The campaign is led by the Alzheimer’s Society but local people and charities are being urged to get involved. Rural Action Yorkshire, who supports rural communities across Yorkshire, can offer resources on dementia to anyone who may be interested in finding out how to make their community building dementia-friendly.

Rural Action Yorkshire (RAY) has developed a Dementia Friendly Toolkit which gives communities a step-by-step guide to becoming more dementia-friendly places to be. These could be village halls, shops, cafes or pubs, and the toolkit features a range of ways this can be achieved, from putting up appropriate signage, to changing the way you think and talk about dementia when you’re out and about.

Recently, RAY visited Castle Howard in North Yorkshire where trustee Dawn Clements delivered dementia friendly training to house guides, as part of the charity’s commitment to making buildings across Yorkshire as accessible as possible.

Dawn, who is a trained Dementia Champion, went along to deliver a practical session which included exercises and roleplay that considered the experiences of someone living with dementia, as well as a table discussion on what dementia is.

Dawn said: “It’s important we’re considerate about the language we use when talking about people living with dementia. We must always remember that they are people first and not defined by their diagnosis, and so for example we should avoid using terms like ‘victim’ and ‘sufferer.’

“Everyone can get involved by demonstrating patience and kindness in any situation where a person could be showing signs of dementia. This might mean giving someone a little extra time to count their money in the check-out queue, or it could be something more in-depth like changing the signs in your community so that people with a diagnosis can easily find their way if they are having difficulties.”

Castle Howard is now a dementia- and community-friendly building, one of many RAY hopes to encourage across Yorkshire. The charity also operates a range of other projects including Good Neighbours schemes across North Yorkshire, which are based around helping older people with small tasks and providing low level support to maintain their ability to live independently.

More information on taking part in RAY’s work or on the Dementia Friendly Toolkit can be found on the website

Dawn commented: “We must use uplifting and empowering language at the same time as being open and honest about the impact of dementia on people and their families. Dementia Week is all about making sure the message we send out is the right one – that you can continue to live a rich and full life with dementia, experiencing new things, people and places regardless of your diagnosis.”



Editor’s Notes

Photos attached to email.

Caption: RAY trustee Dawn Clements with her newly-trained ‘dementia friends’ outside Castle Howard.

Media contact: Candice Dowson, Marketing & PR Officer, Rural Action Yorkshire tel. 0845 313 0270.


Dementia Awareness Week 2015

Dementia Awareness Week is an initiative organised by the national Alzheimer’s Society charity, who campaign tirelessly to raise awareness and fund research into dementia. Although there is no known cure for dementia, life does not end when dementia begins.

In 2015, Dementia Awareness Week will run 17 – 23 May and the theme will be #DoSomethingNew. This will celebrate the idea that living well with dementia does not mean you cannot try new things – you can, and you can also have new experiences.

More resources can be found on the Alzheimer’s Society website:

Rural Action Yorkshire

Based at Askham Bryan, near York, RAY is one of 38 Rural Community Councils in England.  It isan independent, charitable, and voluntary organisation working across rural areas of North, South and West Yorkshire, to help communities improve the quality of life for all people living and working in rural Yorkshire.

RAY enables and empowers communities to develop the confidence to help themselves, and to ensure their needs are heard by policy makers and service providers – on a local, regional and national scale. Key work includes:

*Offering support, training, events and resources on everything affecting life in a rural area

*Help with funding, running community buildings, and staying up to date with the latest legislation

*Assisting with the implementation of Community Led Plans, which identify the strengths and weaknesses of an area and plan the future of community development work.

RAY and the other 37 rural community councils across England form the national ACRE Network (Action with Communities in Rural England). Find Rural Action Yorkshire online at Twitter @RuralYorkshire