Pupils at St. Andrews Primary School in Halstead had a lesson in what it is like to live with dementia when a member of Colne View care home dropped in to the school during Dementia Awareness Week (15th – 21st May).
David Martins, customer relations manager at Colne View, led two interactive sessions for year five children at the school. As well as giving everyone information on the condition and how it can affect people, David also set out to make the pupils ‘Dementia Friends’.
An initiative from the Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia Friends is all about learning more about dementia and turning understanding into action – from telling others about Dementia Friends to visiting someone living with the condition to lend support.
St. Andrew’s Primary School was also presented with copies of David Walliams’ children’s book ‘Grandpa’s Great Escape’, which focuses on the adventures of a beloved grandpa who is living in a care home and is also living with dementia.
David Martins, customer relations manager at Colne View, said: “As a Dementia Friends Champion, Dementia Awareness Week provided the perfect opportunity for me to visit key groups in the community. My aim was to pass on my knowledge – and the benefit of my experience working with older people – to help more people understand what it is like to live with dementia.
“During the week I have helped more than 130 people to become Dementia Friends. To achieve this I have worked closely with James Taylor from Greenfields Community Housing who is also a passionate supporter of Dementia Friends. We both felt it was important to speak to the younger generation, so together we visited local schools.
“The pupils at St. Andrews Primary School were incredibly enthusiastic and eager to learn, and I’m sure the ‘Grandpa’s Great Escape’ books will prompt further thought and discussion beyond the classroom.”
Mary Veater, teacher at St. Andrew’s Primary School, added: “We were all thrilled to be involved in a project which is helping to make Halstead more dementia friendly, while also building on the link between the school and Colne View. The talks were very valuable – they have helped to make many of us far more aware of dementia and how it can affect people’s lives.”