What do Hertswise offer to people living with dementia and their carers, and why are they so special?
Hertswise is an innovative countywide service designed to support people living with dementia, low level memory loss or mild cognitive impairments as well as their loved ones and carers. Our teams aim to ensure that people of all ages, living anywhere in Hertfordshire, are able to easily access information and advice, activities and support in groups or a 1-1 basis, regardless of whether they have (or want) a diagnosis.
The service is delivered by a partnership of community and voluntary groups, including Age UK Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire Independent Living Service, Herts Mind Network, Carers in Hertfordshire, Age UK Dacorum HertsHelp, Herts Careline and North Herts Minority Ethnic Forum – it’s quite a long list or organisations helping each other for this project!
Hertswise is easily accessed via calling HertsHelp on 0300 123 4044
How many people in the UK and Hertfordshire live with dementia?
There are approximately 850,000 people in the UK currently living with dementia. In Hertfordshire, it is estimated that 15,000 people are living with dementia. It is also estimated that there are approximately 600 people living with young or early onset dementia in Hertfordshire also. But please bear in mind that there are still many people who do not have, or wish to have, a diagnosis of dementia and are therefore not captured by these statistics
What words/phrases should be avoided when talking to someone who is living with dementia?
Avoid using words that can cause offence – instead of using dementia sufferer or dementia victim for example – use phrases such as ‘person with dementia’, ‘person living with dementia’ or ‘person living well with dementia’ – simple stuff
Set a positive mood for interaction
Get the person’s attention.
State your message clearly by speaking clearly and calmly.
Ask simple, answerable questions. Speak at a slightly slower pace, and allow time between sentences for the person to process the information and respond.
Break down activities into a series of steps. Use short, simple sentences.
When the going gets tough, distract and redirect. Avoid speaking sharply or raising your voice.
We also do not say that people ‘wander’ – they are walking with purpose. Their aim is to get someone to do something – there is a purpose behind it. The reason for their walk may not always make sense, but nonetheless, it has a purpose