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June-July 2021 | News

Creating a dementia-friendly society

Creating a dementia-friendly society

Currently, around 850,000 people in the UK suffer from dementia, including 1 in every 14 people over the age of 65. There can be few who have not been touched in some way by dementia; as a sufferer, a carer or through a family member or friend. 

In 2016, Cowbridge Rotary in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, decided to do something about it. They began their project to create a dementia-friendly Cowbridge to provide support to those in town and local area who are living with dementia, and their carers. 

The project was all about partnering with a number of different agencies and organisations to coordinate. And in late 2019, in line with criteria laid down by the Alzheimer’s Society, Cowbridge was recognised as a dementia-friendly town. 

Cowbridge Rotary began its project to create a dementia-friendly Cowbridge

Cowbridge Rotary has been essential providing leadership, support and funding as part of a small Dementia Friendly Cowbridge Steering Group.

One successful initiative has been supplying Rotary dementia-friendly mats to businesses and other organisations. Staff attend 40-minute-long dementia awareness sessions and then put this into practice to ensure that their businesses and organisations apply dementia-friendly principles. 

This includes ensuring that dementia sufferers visiting their business, school or church are treated in a friendly and understanding way.

As with other towns across the country, members of the local community run weekly ‘Memory Jar Cafes’ or ‘Golden Oldies Cinemas’. 

Cowbridge Rotary supports events by arranging transport for those attending as well as setting up and clearing up at each session. 

Cowbridge Rotary has been essential providing leadership, support and funding

For some Rotarians, however, the most rewarding aspect is taking part by playing games, or simply sitting down to patiently talking with those who attend.  Interact members from Cowbridge Comprehensive School also help. 

One Rotarian, David Parsons, has even composed a song ‘Remember to Remember’. Performed by the local ‘Music in Mind’ group and pupils from Cowbridge Comprehensive School, this has been professionally recorded and committed to YouTube. 

This was some achievement and the remarkable song can be heard at: The Official Launch of Remember to Remember — With Music In Mind.

Cowbridge Rotary has been at the heart of the dementia-friendly project, providing donations to support Alzheimer’s Research, funding for laptops to support the work of ‘Music in Mind’ and also part-funding two computerised systems to project tabletop interactive images. 

For some Rotarians, the most rewarding aspect is taking part by playing games, or simply sitting down to patiently talking with those who attend.”

These systems have proved a great hit in local care homes and the twice-monthly ‘Memory Jar Cafés’. 

As with many other Rotary projects, the COVID 19 pandemic has inevitably curtailed much of the activity surrounding Dementia Friendly Cowbridge. 

Nonetheless, Cowbridge Rotary is ready to take forward their support for local dementia projects once the situation allows.

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