Rallied by York’s crowdsourcing platform, GeniUS!, 10 people came together yesterday for a dementia challenge workshop at the Ron Cooke Hub.
Formed as a collaborative project between the City of York council and Science City York, GeniUS! seeks to find solutions to difficult social issues through catalysing discussion between local councilors, academics, creative types and pretty much anybody else who’s interested in helping out.
Yesterday’s discussion focused on the day-to-day problems facing dementia sufferers and yielded a few encouraging ideas which could help to lighten the load.
And the load can be a pretty heavy one. Depending to a degree on the stage of progression and type of dementia, the obstacles faced by sufferers can range from confusion, prejudice and depression to muteness, difficulty in moving and total dependency on care – all of which cause real problems in getting by on a daily basis (examples aired by dementia sufferers and carers present at the workshop included becoming lost, accessing buildings and communicating with strangers). Clearly our society – on both a national scale and a local one – is lamentably ill equipped to cater adequately for dementia sufferers. That’s a problem, and a problem on a large scale at that, with an estimated 750,000 people currently living with the condition in a United Kingdom that’s getting older by the day.
Yesterday’s workshop threw up some interesting ideas, including training days for employees of local businesses aimed at improving awareness of how to interact with and meet the needs of dementia sufferers, a Trip Advisor-style website through which carers and sufferers alike could rate the suitability of local businesses for those affected with the illness, and better advice on securing a diagnosis for people who fear they may be displaying the early signs of dementia.
The process of developing these ideas will continue until November 2nd, when funding from the council and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation will be allocated with the intention of facilitating the course of action deemed most potentially beneficial to dementia sufferers in our city.
To table your ideas on how we can take a step towards making York dementia friendly, take a look at geniusyork.com and sign up to the forum.