Ian’s experience: Dementia Friendly Leeds

Before I did my work placement with Dementia Friendly Leeds I did not have much knowledge when it came to Dementia but I was interested to learn. With the placement came a lot of field work such as visiting different groups of organisations which ranged from dementia cafes to singing groups. At the start of the placement I did a Dementia Friends session, which gave me information about dementia that would go against many of the stigmas and also stereotypes that dementia has. It informed me about the struggles that people with dementia have, such as perception of black/shiny surfaces.

I was not aware of such organisations and groups such as those that I have visited during my placement, and it was a great pleasure to have attended and known that there are certain groups which aim to support people who are living with dementia. The groups consisted of different activities which ranged from reminiscence sessions, arts and crafts and singing sessions which are activities which have proved to help those living with dementia. These groups were usually run by volunteers or charity funded which shows how many people have the heart to do what it takes to ensure safety and security for people who are living with dementia.

However, this was a downside as many groups running were lacking funding to provide more than once a month sessions for attendees and therefore falling short from what would be a great provider of sessions. Throughout the placement it was also our duty to contact many alliance members who had goals to be dementia friendly, and this was great to see that so many organisations and businesses were committed to setting goals which would further improve and become dementia friendly.

With my experience working with Dementia Friendly Leeds I believe that my view has changed towards people with dementia in terms of their visual perception potentially being different, and that those who are living with dementia does not necessarily mean that they are incapable and that they should not be isolated from the rest of the population due to struggling with some every day activities.

Overall I believe that my time working with Dementia Friendly Leeds has been very pleasurable as I have enjoyed learning about ways in which groups and organisations were becoming Dementia Friendly and to be able to be a part of a big project which would hopefully benefit the cafes and groups is a great honour. Those who were a part of the Dementia Friendly team were also a pleasure to work with and were very helpful when it came to helping out and providing me with whatever I needed to fulfil my project and to ensure I have a worthwhile time with the organisation.

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