Residents’ feedback wanted for dementia-friendly bid

Emma Dunn and her dance class do an interactive session for the residents of Abbeyfield Care Home in Alnwick.
Emma Dunn and her dance class do an interactive session for the residents of Abbeyfield Care Home in Alnwick.

Residents will be given the chance to tango as a Northumberland community takes its first steps to becoming dementia-friendly.

The participatory dance session will be led by Dexterity, a 20-strong group of older dancers who take their work into care settings and dance with residents and those living with dementia.

The event forms part of a consultation drop-in on Saturday asking residents living in the Lesbury parish for their views on how the community can become dementia friendly.

Bob Dutton, chairman of Lesbury Parish Council, said: “The parish has a relatively high older population and we need to consider how we can ensure the community is inclusive for all those who live here.

“We want to hear people’s ideas of how we can support residents to be actively involved in the community as much as they wish, whether they live in care settings or in their own homes.”

The community consultation, Cupcakes and Crackers, will be held at Lesbury Village Hall between 2pm and 4pm and feature music, refreshments and dancing with Dexterity.

The Dementia Friendly Communities programme focuses on improving inclusion and quality of life for people living with dementia. Alzheimer’s Society’s five-year strategy includes a key ambition to work with people affected by dementia and key partners to define and develop dementia-friendly communities.

In these communities, people will be aware of and understand more about dementia; people with dementia and their carers will be encouraged to seek help and support; and people with dementia will feel included in their community, be more independent and have more choice and control over their lives. A number of areas in north Northumberland, including Amble and East Chevington, are working towards being dementia friendly.

Actions from the Lesbury consultation will be submitted to Alzheimer’s Society as part of its UK drive to increase the number of dementia-friendly communities.

Supported by older people’s charity Equal Arts, Dexterity was formed three years ago by dance instructor Emma Hardman.

She said: “We hope everyone will join in with our tango as we promote what older people can do, what they can achieve and what different activities are available to them.

“The steps in the tango have taken an incredible amount of mental focus and we hope we can inspire people to think differently about how communities can work together to be inclusive for all who live there.”