Hackney Dementia Festival starts this week

Events and activities for people with dementia, their families, friends and neighbours, the Hackney Dementia festival runs from Thursday 16 May to Wednesday 29 May.

Most of the events are free to attend and generally there is no need to book.

We spoke to Harry Johnson from the Alzheimer’s Society to find out more.

Q. What does the Alzheimer’s Society do?

HJ: We are the support and research charity for dementia. We support people with dementia and look at the best ways to care for people with the condition.

We are also campaigning for better quality dementia care and dementia friendly communities. We are trying to make communities which understand and respect people with dementia.

Q. What support is available for people in Hackney with dementia, or for people concerned about memory loss?

HJ: There’s a national helpline people can call every day on 0300 222 1122 – you can call for advice if you are concerned that you, or someone you know, might have dementia. We also have online resources – fact sheets and guides on our website.

As well, in Hackney we have Dementia navigators who support people with dementia from the point of diagnosis throughout their journey. For example, navigators will explain the terminology that doctors use, because we find that a lot of people get overwhelmed by that.

Q. What social support is available in Hackney?

HJ: There are social groups, lunch clubs and dementia friendly activities, for example The Rio Cinema and Hackney Picturehouse both host dementia friendly film screenings.

We know there’s not enough out there, and people report feeling isolated and excluded, so we are really pushing to get more organisations involved, more organisations understanding the needs of people with dementia.

Q. What about supermarkets, banks and businesses?

HJ: The idea is to involve everybody in a dementia friendly community. We have just done some work with a local bank. It’s also about involving the emergency services – last week I was with London Fire brigade in Hackney, giving them training about dementia, what the symptoms are, what to look for.

We are also looking at transport – getting more bus divers trained in dementia awareness. So, it’s anybody and everybody that has to be involved in the dementia friendly community.

Q. Please tell us about the Hackney Dementia Festival

HJ:We have got events throughout the week such as cinema screenings, a performance at Arcola Theatre, dementia friendly swimming, a Caribbean tea party, a tea dance in Shoreditch Town Hall, table tennis and much more. We think there’s a good balance of activities and most activities are free with no booking required!

  • For more information about the Alzheimer’s Society visit: www.alzheimers.org.uk

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