Young people from Blackheath, South East London have gained a better understanding of dementia, with the help of a Sanctuary Care home in Greenwich.
Students from Blackheath High School in Vanbrugh Park have gained a powerful insight into what life is like living and caring for a loved one with dementia at Riverlee Residential and Nursing Home in Franklin Place.
Students from year 10 and 11, along with year 11 head Erin Reed and their deputy head (Pastoral) Catherine Maddison have all become Dementia Friends – an initiative from the Alzheimer’s Society, thanks to training delivered at the Greenwich care home.
The Dementia Friends sessions showed the 15 to 16-year-olds the small things they can do within their community or their future jobs that can make a huge difference to the lives of people living with dementia.
Understanding is integral
Deputy Head Catherine Maddison said: “It is so important that everyone, including young people, understand dementia and appreciate how they can help. We believe everyone in their lifetime will come to face dementia at some point throughout their life – whether it’s with themselves, a friend, loved one or simply being a carer and that’s why understanding is integral. No one should feel alone and I’m proud how well our students took to the training – they really listened and took it fully on board.”
Following the session the students were keen to share the actions they plan to take now they are fully fledged Dementia Friends.
One student, Maddie, said: I’d like to help by hosting a bake sale to raise money for charities such as the Alzheimer’s Society”. Fellow students Maitri and Siya plan to host an assembly to help raise awareness at their school, and finally, Olivia (another student) added: “I’d like to do a triathlon to raise money for a dementia charity.”
Championing the initiative
Riverlee’s home manager Cecilia Agadzi continued: “We really are championing the Dementia Friends initiative here at Riverlee – my team including care staff, receptionists, administrators and catering assistants are all proud Dementia Friends and it’s now wonderful we are reaching people outside of the home.
“The students were lovely and so respectful and I do hand on heart believe they will also champion the initiative and tell their loved ones and friends all about it. We all have one aim and that’s to make South East London as dementia friendly as possible and I feel we are making a genuine difference.”