Here's what happened when Derby schoolchildren met people with dementia

June 2018 · 5 min read

A Derby infant school has introduced pupils to dementia patients to help them learn about the condition.

Kids Dementia Derby

Teachers at Alvaston Infant and Nursery School said children need to know about the disease in case a parent or relative is ever diagnosed.

As such, a group of 12 year-one pupils were taken along to the Alvaston Methodist Church Hall, where dementia patients and their carers meet regularly for lunch.

Watch the video here.

The visit was organised as part of Dementia Awareness Week, which aims to tackle the stigma surrounding dementia.

Teacher Katie Matthews said: "My mum works with people living with dementia and it was after conversations with her that I realised how the school could get involved.

"Whilst having lots of fun, the children have taken their dementia training very seriously and can't wait to start testing out their new understanding and communication skills.

"Today has been brilliant and the children have really enjoyed meeting with the elderly people to talk about dementia and learn about how important it is."

During the day, the pupils had lunch with members from the Alvaston Taste Group, which offers people with dementia and their carers somewhere safe to meet new people.

Youngsters have been taking part in events and activities across the week to increase their knowledge of the condition and also to think more about those who have dementia.

The school's head teacher, Mrs Atwal, said: "The whole school has embraced this initiative and we are working creatively to spread the message of dementia awareness around the school community.

"Local residents have been very pleased to see us introducing such an important issue to the children. We will be holding a number of community events during Dementia Action Week."

Alvaston Infant and Nursery School already has 180 "Dementia Friends" - part of a scheme created by the Alzheimer's Society to raise awareness about the condition.

The aim is to allow people to learn the five key messages about the condition and given them a better understanding of what dementia entails.

They hope to inspire other schools across Derby and Derbyshire to do the same in a bid to increase awareness even more.

Honor Simpson, service leader for Derby City Dementia Service, which is run by the health and social care charity Making Space, said: "These children must be among the youngest Dementia Friends in the country.

"They have done some excellent work and our members will really enjoy their visit. I think the children will get a lot out of it too. I know they have enjoyed learning how they can communicate better with people living with dementia and being able to put those skills into practice will be the cherry on the cake.

"This kind of intergenerational work is vitally important and the school must be applauded for embracing it so wholeheartedly.

"I don't believe there is an age limit for learning about dementia and the younger we teach people how to better communicate with people living with dementia, the more the stigma disappears and the better connected our communities will become."

There are a number of Dementia services available across Derbyshire include memory assessment, carer support, respite care and activity sessions.

Dementia advisors can offer support with legal and financial matters and can help carers to keep their loved ones living well and independent for longer.

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