The day started off sunny and bright. I’d been sent bus routes for how to get to Armley Grange in Leeds so set off from York early. I’d been contacted by Tracy Brierley, Service Manager from the Alzheimer society in Leeds asking if I’d talk to newly appointed Memory Support Workers.
It’s described as a:
“New and ground breaking development commissioned by Leeds Clinical Commissioning Groups”
It’s a partnership between Alzheimer Society and Leeds & York Partnership Foundation Trust. It sounds ,in theory, like a great initiative so I’ll be interested to see how it develops.
I’d already seen a picture of the 14 Newbies on Twitter earlier In the week so knew they’d all turned up on their first day – always a good sign! I’d been in London for the 2 days prior so couldn’t remember what I’d written for my morning with them so it was going to come as much as a surprise to me as it was to them!
I had trouble finding the Alzheimer society offices as the instructions must have been old ones and none of the bus stops described were where I was expecting😱…….However, I ended up with a nice bus conductor who knew exactly where I had to get off so that reduced the stress levels. However, once I got off the bus it went pair shaped again and I tried to follow the instructions but they didn’t work so I had to ring for Tracy to come out and find me and find me she did. People often don’t realise how hard it is to find somewhere unfamiliar…….next time they need to get someone with dementia to test their instructions……..
Once inside and plyed with tea I was fine.
It was lovely to meet the 14 new staff. They went round and introduced themselves .They’ve come from many environments and many have been involved with people with dementia –, a memory nurse, 2 OT assistants, dementia advisors from Alzheimers society, some have degrees, others valuable experience and others simply enthusiasm in bucket loads.
They will be based in GP services but will be linked to an integrated network team – so they’re coming out of the memory clinic and going into the community – yeh!
I told them my story and then spoke about language and pointed them in the direction of DEEPs web site. However, I forgot to tell them about the new web site!! so hopefully one of them will be reading this and send it to the rest.
I spoke of the value of research and how they were well placed to inform people of Join Dementia Research and hopefully they’ll sign up themselves. They all went off with a leaflet in hand…….😊
I spoke of the fact that I’d be insulted if they pointed me in the direction of a Memory Cafe – services offered must not only be appropriate but specific for that individual according age, stage of dementia and personality.
We spoke of enabling and how easy it was for people to disable people with dementia. They asked many, many questions, which was great to hear. We had an interesting discussion on the use of the word ‘carer’. I said how the use of that very word immediately implied that the partner would have to ‘look after’ and ‘do’ things for the person with dementia. How much more positive would it be to use the word ‘supporter’ or ‘team work’; and how much better to keep using the words ‘wife’, ‘husband’ partner’ etc. We spoke lots about the potential issues for couples and how they need help in understanding and talking about the differences that dementia may impact on their relationship. TALKING IS KEY.
Discussions about the future are difficult, but how easier the future will be if you talk now.
I ended up with my spiel about the ‘advantages of Alzheimers’, especially since this week saw the final of Great British Bake Off – my all time favourite programme! I said how I could start watching it all over again next week as I can’t remember who got kicked off each week and by next week I may have forgotten who actually won!
Thanks for inviting me Tracy!