This week has been Dementia Action Week which encourages people to take action to improve the lives of people affected by dementia and works to create a dementia friendly society where those with dementia don’t feel excluded.
At CTA, we’ve spent the week becoming Dementia Friends, with our team members across the UK learning more about those living with dementia and how to turn understanding into action. The Dementia Friends programme is run by the Alzheimer’s Society and seeks to change the way that people think, act and talk about dementia.
In March we were excited to announce that the new round of Minibus Driver Awareness Training (MIDAS) will include Dementia Friends information for all trainers and drivers who undertake the new round. Central to MiDAS is the understanding that as a sector, community transport remains responsive to the needs of passengers and that it’s important to continue learning and increasing our understanding so that drivers have the best skills to support their passengers.
Dementia is one of the nation’s most prominent health challenges, with nearly 44% of people either directly or indirectly affected and it’s estimated that by 2020, over one million people will be living with the condition. Community transport, by its very nature, supports a wide range of people who might otherwise find it difficult to access other means of transport, and many of the people who use and rely on CT services are directly or indirectly affected by dementia.
We spoke to Elspeth Mallowan this week, who helps run a number of ‘Memory Cafes’ in Sheffield. The Cafes aim to support people experiencing memory loss or who have a diagnosis of mild to moderate dementia, as well as their carers and friends. She told us that community transport was vital to support the Cafes:
“AgeUK Sheffield has recently launched some Dementia Cafes for people living in west Sheffield. As part of the People Keeping Well Initiative, there are now two Rosemary Memory Cafes operating alternate weeks in two areas, Dore and Totley. Having a local CT bringing in Cafe members has been key to their success; the support and care shown to the passengers by the volunteer drivers has been second to none.
One of the passengers told us that they’d not been out of the house since Christmas because they couldn’t face the long walk to the bus stop and that taxis were too expensive, which acted as a springboard for us to make them aware of several other services available through community transport in the area. It was heart-warming to see how a small scale intervention could bring such joy! They look forward to their Tuesday afternoon jaunt with the great cakes, friendly atmosphere and fun and games which are an important part of the Memory Cafes. Without community transport, our Cafes would not be the great success they are!”
Thank you to all our members working to support people in communities across the UK who are affected by dementia. Their work makes such a difference.
Community Transport Association UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered in Cardiff no. 1985361 Registered office: 12 Hilton Street M1 1JF. Registered as a charity in England and Wales no. 1002222. Charity Registered in Scotland No. SC038518.