Tag Archives: Dementia Awareness Week

Dementia Awareness Week 2017


Hot on the winged heels of Mental Health Awareness week (thank you to all colleagues and partners who helped get that information out there) we are promoting Dementia Awareness Week (14 to 21 May 2017), an Alzheimer’s Society initiative, in our libraries.  There are so many myths around Dementia and that is why we recommend the Reading Well books on prescription dementia list.

Dementia display QP Library

Book display at Queen’s Park Library

This is a varied carefully chosen collection consisting of evidenced and researched information books, alongside fascinating and moving personal histories. It also includes a children’s picture book to help younger readers understand beloved members of their families who have been diagnosed with one of 100 conditions that come under the umbrella of Dementia.  Check out the craft book for creative ways of engaging those living well with Dementia.  It is a helpful and uplifting collection.

DF logo

The second initiative I want tell you about is the Dementia Friends sessions happening this week which are run by a trained Dementia champion. They are relaxed and informative sessions that engage us in such a way that unhelpful fears and misinformation around the subject can be openly discussed and real facts and practical tips on creating Dementia friendly services and how to reach out and support those living well with Dementia come to light.

Details of the Dementia Friends sessions this week:

These sessions are open to everyone and I urge you to recommend them or even come along yourself.

Kate Gielgud
Health Information Co-ordinator


The beating heart of your community (Why libraries are good for your health, part 3)

There has been a packed programme of health events happening in Westminster Libraries over the past month – alongside regular events there were quite a few topical events to tie in with various awareness weeks.

Living Well with Dementia: The Westminster Guide 201319-26 May was the 2013 Dementia Awareness Week and Paddington Library hosted a very well-attended talk from the Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster Memory Service on ‘Understanding Dementia’. There is sometimes confusion as to the difference between ‘dementia’ and ‘Alzheimer’s’ and people can hurl either at anyone who seems a bit forgetful. Dementia in all its forms seems to be on the increase and it is worthwhile getting hold of a copy of the ‘Living Well with Dementia’ guide (a new version for 2013) which has been painstakingly put together by Jasmine Scott, Dementia Advisor

Health information, craft and free massage at Paddington Library, June 2013

Paddington Library hosts very successful and increasingly popular community health events on the last Thursday of each month. May’s event offered information on drug and alcohol services from the NHS Health Improvement Team as well as free tea, coffee, massage sessions and a lively craft session. June featured the Stroke Association taking people’s blood pressure, the NHS Health Improvement Team discussing healthy eating and nine Time Bank volunteers holding a craft event next to the free massage sessions. Tea and coffee were donated to the public by a private donor, and more than 50 people took part.

Aderonke Kuti with diabetes information at Queen's Park Library, June 2013Even the weekends have their share of health events in Westminster. Queen’s Park Library was the venue recently for a very fruitful and lively partnership between Family Learning and the Health Information Project in the form of the Black and Ethnic Minority diabetes charity BEMDA. Aderonke Kuti brought information and resources to explain the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes to the families who had signed up with the brilliant Micki Garvey for her recycled toys and stories session. It seemed to work so well because the whole family were involved. The idea is that older children can become Diabetes Champions and spread the word among their fellows.

For Carers Week 2013 (10-16 June) there was another health event at Queen’s Park Library – the bunting was up, the balloons were outside the library for a Carers Information event. The Westminster Carers Network teamed up with the Falls Prevention Service (Carers Week was immediately followed by Falls Awareness Week!) to make information available to the large number of carers in the Queen’s Park area. Charities Diabetes UK and Prostate Cancer UK also had stands and the whole event was well attended.

Last week saw a Well Wednesday Diabetes awareness event at Church Street Library, run by the NHS health improvement team and a dynamic volunteer from Diabetes UK

Pre-Ramadan diabetes advice at Church Street Library, June 2013The ladies offered healthy eating tips and lots of information on preventing type two diabetes and/or living with Diabetes, type 1 and type 2. The session was held as the second of a two-part pre-Ramadan special at Church Street Library. Ramadan is when Muslims fast for a lunar month – no food or water passes their lips during daylight hours. Sometimes this can lead to some very unhealthy gorging during the night time period; thinking they are stocking up, people overload their bodies with carbohydrate and risk developing type 2 diabetes. 

Josefine the ‘volunteer’ Jack Russell, is due at the Westbourne Dementia hub for a demonstration of her ‘shaking hands’, ‘lying down’ and her new talent ‘dancing’ (though only backwards) – she will promote library services and has a special volunteer badge… pictures to follow.

Can anyone doubt that libraries are good for your health in a very obvious way?  Coming soon ‘the hidden therapeutic value of your library’!


Bibliotherapy +

This is Josefine, anxiously awaiting news as to whether she has been accepted as a pet therapy dog to visit the Dementia Centre at 42 Westbourne Park Road.

Josephine April 13I am glad to report that she has been successful after a gruelling interview where she had to ‘shake hands’ and ‘lie down’ over and over again.  She also had to resist grabbing at a custard cream held just out of her reach in the hand of a 96 year old resident (this last test actually happened on her second visit to the Penfold Hub and she passed with flying colours and only a little bit of understandable drooling)

She has performed very well on both her visits to the Penfold Hub. The very elderly residents, many with dementia, lit up when she and companion Frankie (Franz Josef, a very shy Yorkshire terrier) made the rounds of the residents lounge. When the dogs came into the room (on leads of course) the residents mostly seemed asleep but, when they saw the animals,  all reacted and became animated and vocal, and reached out to pet the little dogs. It was really heartening and the positive, delighted, response was undeniable.

You may wonder what the connection could possibly be to libraries?  The Health Information Project runs a ‘Share a Book’ session for younger residents (between 60 and 80), and over 50s visitors to the Hub activities once a month, and is starting another monthly bibliotherapy group at the Dementia Centre on the 5 June. For those residents who are unable to join in the bibliotherapy sessions Josefine and Frankie will visit regularly – it looks as though their visits are going to be popular. These visits will of course be on a volunteer basis and not in working hours!

If you would like to find out more about dementia, please contact the organisations linked above, or come to a special Dementia Information and Advice evening for Dementia Awareness Week (19-25 May) at Paddington Library, tomorrow 22 May at 6.00pm.