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Orwell's commitment to understanding and raising awareness of Dementia.

Orwell's commitment to understanding and raising awareness of Dementia.

Staff from Orwell Housing with Sharon Harkin from the East of England Co-op











Over 80 staff at Orwell have recently attended Dementia awareness sessions (Dementia Friends) by the East of England Co-op. The course has enabled our staff to better understand how to help those who are living with and caring for those living with Dementia.

Dementia Friends is a social action movement that aims to increase understanding of Dementia. They inspire people to take action to support people affected by Dementia in their community. Over 20,000 Dementia Friends are being created across the UK each month. A Dementia Friend learns a little bit more about what it's like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into action.

Commenting on Orwell’s pledge to raising awareness of Dementia, Andrew Regent, Supported Housing and Care Manager said, “how important it was to know how we can all be helpful and respectful to those who are living with Dementia.”

"There are over 100 different forms of Dementia and it is not all about losing your memory.” Commented Andrew. “People may experience problems with their sight, hearing, processes, struggling to keep up with conversations, difficulty in planning and changes in mood and behaviours. The awareness sessions will help all our staff undertaking a variety of roles to identify and resolve issues with our tenants that could be attributed to Dementia.

We have also committed as an organisation to the Dementia Friendly Housing Charter and will be looking at how we can improve our properties to be more ‘Dementia Friendly.”

“As the leading dementia friendly retailer in the region we passionately believe that dementia is everyone’s business.” Commented Sharon Harkin, Community Engagement Manager at the East of England Co-op, who delivered the awareness sessions at Orwell Housing.

“If every business makes a small change and works to become dementia-friendly then collectively we will make an enormous difference to local people living with dementia. The East of England Co-op welcomed the opportunity to support Orwell in our pledge to become dementia-friendly."  

Since January this year over 80 Dementia Friends have been created. Orwell Housing have also been loaned a GERT (Gerontological suit) as part of our dementia friendly commitment. Wearing the suit makes the user feel 30 years older. Colleagues can experience the physical and psychological effects of ageing as they step into the shoes of someone living with dementia.  

Housing has a significant, but under recognised role to play in supporting people living with dementia. Orwell’s commitment to understand the challenges faced by people living with dementia in a home setting, will enable people with the condition to live well and independently in their home of choice.

Tony Morris from Orwell recently attended one of the sessions with some of his colleagues.

He said: “This really opened my eyes to the challenges facing people living with dementia, as well as their carers. It helped me to understand how I can make a small contribution, which can have a huge impact on someone’s day.”