The CCG was awarded a grant from Health Education England, following a successful bid, to run events to raise awareness for dementia- particularly in the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities.
The aim was to support the use of the arts as a cross cultural method of raising awareness. The BME community is often diagnosed very late, and sometimes not at all. There is a huge stigma about having dementia, which can prevent a person from receiving a timely diagnosis, and therefore prevent access to the appropriate care. This was a challenge we wanted to address.
Over the year, the CCG has used the grant to:
- Produce two films aimed at increasing awareness of dementia within BME communities. Held workshops with the BME communities when the films were launched.
- Ran a dementia simulation session using the Dementia Virtual Reality Bus; 36 key leaders from the BME communities were invited to attend – with excellent feedback
- Hosted a play called Connie’s Colander
- Ran free workshops called “Listening with your eyes” – theatre group sessions for carers of those for dementia, and professionals, to demonstrate the power of nonverbal communication.
- Hosted “Finding Joy” in Aylesbury for the public, to raise awareness and understanding in how to manage people with dementia. This was also supported financially by Aylesbury Vale District Council.
A new film was been launched in Buckinghamshire to mark Dementia Awareness Week 2018 (21-27 May), showing how people affected by dementia can use creative pursuits and activity to help improve their quality of life.
The locally made film, entitled ‘I Am Still Me’, formed part of ongoing work by NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Buckinghamshire County Council to raise awareness of the condition. It focuses on the importance of supporting people living with dementia and their carers, by helping them find new ways to communicate and enjoy memories through creative and social activities. These can include singing groups, artistic activities or watching performances. It also considers the difficulties experienced by carers of people living with dementia, and how vital it is that they find lifelines to relieve the pressure on them.
A number of local groups and activities which people can get involved with are featured over the course of the film. It was produced by Dr Mahuya Kanjilal, who has extensive experience of working on films highlighting health and social care issues as they impact the BME community. The project was also supported by NHS England South Central. The film was screened at a special event in March 2018, followed by a Q&A session with a panel of key members of the project, including GP Dr Sian Roberts, who gave advice and insight into the challenges surrounding dementia and caring for someone with the condition.
Dr Roberts, Mental Health and Learning Disability Clinical Director for Buckinghamshire CCG, said: “This film aims to show that people can still lead meaningful and fulfilled lives 19 when they live with dementia, and activities like the ones highlighted can make such a positive difference to them.
“As hard as this condition may be to accept, life does not have to stop with the onset of dementia – there are still many ways to enjoy time with your loved ones and create warm new memories. And we must always remember how important it is for the carers of people with dementia to have the kind of support that these creative groups can offer. They really can serve as an invaluable lifeline and we hope people will watch this film and be inspired to explore them further.”
The film, I Am Still Me, can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/gxoz6OUcIn0
Two other films focusing on dementia were launched in Bucks last year:
- Living Well With Memories, which features clinical advice on prevention and management of dementia,- https://youtu.be/BufkJUVbNf4
- My Life, My Memories, which focuses on the experiences of people affected by dementia from different communities – https://youtu.be/f4xi77PdQ8s
Dementia show – Finding Joy
NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), in partnership with Aylesbury Vale District Council, offered free tickets to Bucks residents for the acclaimed show Finding Joy, which focuses on the impact of dementia upon those living with the condition and their loved ones.
The production came to the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury, for a special performance on 19 November, 2018, with the support of Aylesbury Town Council and Buckinghamshire County Council. Around 265 free tickets were given away, primarily to people affected by dementia – those living with the condition, their family members and carers. Healthcare professionals with an interest in the subject also attended, paying a nominal fee with all proceeds going to charity.
The show, performed in full mask by the Vamos Theatre, follows the relationship between Joy, who lives with dementia, and her grandson Danny. When Danny decides to look after Joy, they discover a shared playfulness and growing love. Described as ‘life affirming, funny, deeply touching’ (Plays to See), it brings heart and humour to a sensitive subject.
The play also considers how we communicate with people living with dementia and how they can carry on leading rewarding lives. It received a delighted reaction from the audience at the Waterside. .Also performing on the evening were the Carers Bucks choir
In September 2018 a Dementia conference was held, entitled You, me, memory and dementia.
This was a partnership event organised by Buckinghamshire CCG, Alzheimer’s Society Memory Support Service, Carers Bucks and Buckinghamshire County Council.
Around 160 people attended the conference, including people living with dementia, memory concerns, their carers, supporting staff, volunteers and senior professionals from statutory organisations. The aim of the day was to share experiences, inform people about available services, to find out what is working well and where issues or service gaps may exist.
To read a report on the event, please click here.