Rathlin’s aim to become UK’s first dementia friendly island

Members of the Rathlin community who are working to make it the UK's  first dementia friendly island. Alzheimers Societys local Dementia Support Worker visited Rathlin Island on  June 27 and delivered Dementia Friendly Community Workshops to residents and representatives from local
businesses.
Members of the Rathlin community who are working to make it the UK's first dementia friendly island. Alzheimers Societys local Dementia Support Worker visited Rathlin Island on June 27 and delivered Dementia Friendly Community Workshops to residents and representatives from local businesses.

As Rathlin Island gets set to become the UK’s first Dementia Friendly Island, Alzheimer’s Society is calling on organisations, businesses and individuals in Causeway to nominate themselves or others for the charity’s Northern Ireland Dementia Friendly Awards.

The Awards, which will be hosted by Sarah Travers, will be held in Belfast in November. Nominations close on September 15.

Now in their third year, the awards celebrate people who are raising awareness, changing attitudes and challenging misunderstanding around dementia.

Dementia devastates lives and by 2021, one million people will be living with the condition. The awards team wants to hear from people who are leading the dementia movement, inspiring others and are determined to transform the dementia landscape forever.

This year there are 12 awards up for grabs across 10 categories, including: Dementia Friendly Organisation; Community Partnership; Dementia Friends Champion; Innovation; Young person’s contribution; Journalist; Inspiring Individual.

Alzheimer’s Society’s local Dementia Support Worker visited Rathlin Island on June 27 and delivered Dementia Friendly Community Workshops to residents and representatives from local businesses.

With the residents of Rathlin keen to become the UK’s first Dementia Friendly Island, Aoife McMaster, Causeway Dementia Support Worker will be returning to Rathlin to deliver more workshops in September.

The workshops will take place on Thursday, September 7 from 10am to 12pm and another from 2pm to 4pm in the Branson Centre on Rathlin. “We would love for as many people to attend the workshops and learn more about dementia,” Aoife said.

If you would like to attend, please register with Aoife on 028 7035 8887 or directly at the Branson Centre.

“There is a strong sense of community on Rathlin. Residents are always keen to help one another. This is evident in the actions they are taking to become Dementia Friendly, not just for other residents living on the island but to help the 40,000 tourists who visit the island every year, many of whom will be affected by dementia,” she said.

To date those who have attended include residents as well as representatives of the Rathlin Development & Community Association, Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd and businesses on the island including guest houses, cafes, restaurants and pubs, as well as the island’s Floating Support workers, Nurses, Homecare workers and staff from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

Those who attended the workshops have commented on how much they learnt about dementia. Attendees stated they feel more confident to support someone living with dementia. They are also committed to make positive changes to their premises and businesses for people affected by dementia.

Alzheimer’s Society is delighted Rathlin is taking action to become a dementia-friendly community and is now calling on more neighbourhoods to follow in their footsteps. In the Causeway area, Coleraine, Ballymoney and Ballycastle are all working towards becoming dementia friendly.

Adrian Friel, Service Manager, Alzheimer’s Society in Causeway, said: “A dementia-friendly community is a city, town or village where people with dementia are understood, respected, supported, and confident they can contribute to community life.

“It is great to hear of the positive work happening in Rathlin. They are setting a high standard that I hope many more will follow across the country. We want people from all walks of life and backgrounds to join the Dementia Friendly Communities movement.

“It is possible to make small changes that will make their day to day lives much better and being able to stay part of a community for longer, rather than moving into a care home, which will also save society money. I would urge everyone to find out more on how you and your neighbourhood can become a dementia friendly community.”

For more information on Dementia Friendly Communities and the official recognition process log on to www.alzheimers.org.uk/dementiafriendlycommunities or to find out more on how to become a Dementia Friend and Friends Champion log on to www.dementiafriends.org.uk

Alzheimer’s Society Community Roadshow Vehicle will be visiting the Causeway Coast in September bringing information about dementia and the local support available to everyone affected by dementia.

The Community Roadshow will be in ASDA Coleraine carpark on Tuesday, September 5 from 10am to 4pm and in Coleraine Town Centre at the Diamond on Wednesday, September 6 from 10am to 4pm.

The touring information vehicle, will be manned by Alzheimer’s Society staff and volunteers who will provide passers-by with information and advice about the condition which affects 20,000 people in Northern Ireland. The event is part of a wider tour of Northern Ireland.

People can find out when the Dementia Community Roadshow will be visiting their local area by visiting www.alzheimers.org.uk/roadshow