Becoming a member of the Dementia Action Alliance: Waltham Forest Housing Association Case Study

Piloting a toolkit for smaller associations setting up a Dementia Strategy with the help of Orbit Charitable Trust was the start of an amazing journey for us. Whilst we had been working with people with dementia for many years, we did not have a focused approach and it was dealt with on a case by case basis by members of our Support Services Team. The process involved training sessions for all staff to become Dementia Friends and a specific training session from our local Alzheimer’s Society; the appointment of two dementia champions amongst staff, one responsible for strategies and the other for operational matters; jointly, with the Alzheimer’s Society, setting up a local Dementia Action Alliance Group, with an official launch in September; and becoming a member of Dementia Action Alliance.

For our tenants we have set up The Sunshine Club that meets every month and focusses on a specific topic all with the aim of engaging people living with dementia, their carers and their neighbours to raise awareness of dementia amongst those who may not have any knowledge or understanding. Activities have included reminiscence, games, and pamper sessions provided by local college beautician students.

Our focus is now extending support to our general needs tenants. Identifying those with dementia who do not live in some form of supported housing is more difficult but staff are now aware of the signs and how to deal sensitively with them to ascertain if they might have dementia. The whole staff team is now very aware and confident about how to work with and relate to people with dementia not just in their professional role but also in their personal life, with friends or family with dementia.

In a very short amount of time the culture of the organisation and our approach to dementia has radically changed to the benefit of those who live with dementia, those who support those who do and everyone involved.

Become a Dementia Friend and sign up to Dementia Action Alliance and see what a difference it can make to your organisation and you personally.

Find out more about how Waltham Forest HA went about it.

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