Dementia Awareness Week: Rustington businesses go blue to raise awareness of Dementia Friendly Community

Businesses in Rustington have decked their windows in denim and other blue items for Dementia Awareness Week.

Arun achieved Dementia Friendly Community status in October 2019, just a few months before the Covid-19 lockdown, and various events have been arranged in the district this week to raise awareness.

Mandie Kane, community liaison dementia nurse with Sussex Partnership Foundation NHS Trust, said: “It took five years to achieve the award by working with different sectors of the community to raise awareness of dementia and to look at supporting the community to become more inclusive and dementia-friendly, where people with dementia can feel active, engaged and valued.

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"Dementia Friends is a social action movement organised by the Alzheimer’s Society that aims to increase understanding of dementia and inspire people to take individual action to support people affected by dementia in their community.

Mandie Kane, community liaison dementia nurse with Sussex Partnership Foundation NHS Trust, outside the Oxfam shop in Rustington with its blue themed window for Dementia Awareness Week

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"However, 63 per cent of people surveyed didn’t think that shops were doing enough to help people with dementia. Often, people stop going shopping as their dementia progresses because they are worried about getting the support they need and 23 per cent have stopped going shopping completely.”

Mandie, who is chair of Arun Dementia Friendly Community, said if she asked people with dementia what they needed when they went shopping, the main answer was patience and understanding.

Action in Arun has included Morrisons having a quiet hour on Saturdays to offer a calmer shopping experience and dementia swimming sessions at Littlehampton Wave.

Part of the display at Rustington Library for Dementia Awareness Week

More Dementia Friend sessions are being organised for retailers and customers in the near future.

To become a Dementia Friend, people need to understand five key messages about dementia and then commit to take a dementia-friendly action.

Mandie is looking for more volunteers to join the steering group to keep the actions going to maintain Arun Dementia Friendly status. Meetings are currently held via Zoom every few months to discuss new ideas. Email [email protected] for more information.

Part of the display at Rustington Library for Dementia Awareness Week
The blue -themed window at Cancer Research UK in Rustington