Alison Wallington, event centre manager of Kent Event Centre, discusses how to achieve a dementia friendly venue
There are currently 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, a number that is expected to increase to two million by 2050. Dementia is a progressive condition that damages the nerve cells in the brain so messages can’t be sent to and from the brain effectively, which prevents the body from functioning normally. While 10% of dementia cases are inherited, recent research suggests it can be delayed or prevented by practicing good physical and mental health.
As a venue that works with our staff to encourage positive mental health, we recently took part in dementia training ahead of an upcoming dementia charity conference being hosted at the venue. The training would make us dementia aware and dementia friendly and better equipped to offer understanding and assistance to our visiting guests living with the condition.
Fifteen members of our event team took part in the training to understand the condition and find out what it is like living with dementia on a daily basis. Even simple tasks like making a cup of tea when you have dementia can be so tricky and this training opened our eyes to the condition. There were five key messages delivered which included the fact that dementia is not a natural part of ageing, dementia is caused by diseases of the brain, dementia is not just about losing your memory, it can affect thinking, communicating and doing everyday tasks, it’s possible to live well with dementia and there’s more to a person than dementia.
Taking part in this training from the Dementia Friends charity has given us insight and understanding in an area that most of us had no experience. We have dementia friendly badges that people can see and hopefully it will put their minds at rest. We will now be more mindful in future of the way we interact with our customers and are currently looking into all of our rooms, buildings and spaces to make them more dementia friendly. Simple changes can make such a difference to someone living with dementia.