Tag Archives: dementia

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


Music Therapy Week 2015

Music therapyThis week (22 – 27 June) Westminster Music Library is displaying a selection of books, informative posters and leaflets in support of Music Therapy Week 2015, in conjunction with The British Association of Music Therapy (BAMT).

The British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT) is the professional body for music therapists and a source of information, support and involvement for the general public.

Music Therapy in Schools by Jo Tomlinson et al. Music Therapy in Dementia Care by David Aldridge A Comprehensive Guide to Music Therapy by Tony Wigram et al. The music in music therapy by Jos de Backer

Music therapy is an established clinical discipline which is widely used to help people whose lives have been affected by injury, illness or disability. Music Therapy Week 2015 is a week dedicated to raising awareness about how music therapy can improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our communities across the UK. It can help people of any age who find it difficult to communicate verbally, due to a physical or cognitive disability, emotional distress or mental illness. This year’s campaign will focus on the instrumental role music therapy has to play in supporting people with dementia and those who care for them (www.bamt.org, 2015).

The BAMT have been working closely with libraries across the UK to deliver a series of workshops and exhibitions during Music Therapy Week and Westminster Music Library are grateful for the opportunity to share in this collaborative project.

Music therapy display at Westminster Music Library, June 2015

Where music helps, by Brynjulf StigeThe books in our display give an overview of the wide range of material available at Westminster Music Library for Music Therapy students, practitioners and enthusiasts. We also hold Music Therapy journals in paper and online, and researchers who are Westminster members can access our online content at www.westminster.gov.uk/247.




Reading Well in Westminster

Reading Well logoFollowing the Reading Agency launch of the Reading Well Books on Prescription Dementia Collection on Monday 26 January, libraries across the three boroughs gave community and health partners, as well as members of the public, the chance to find out about our Reading Well initiatives, with collection launches at five libraries, starting with Pimlico Library on 30 January.

The Carers’ Network, BME Forum, Migrants Resource Centre, Breathe Easy Support group, and other community and health partners came to Pimlico library for tea and scones to hear about Reading Well in libraries.

Diane Sherlock at the Pimlico Library launch of Reading Well Books on Prescription - Dementia Collection

Diane Sherlock at the Pimlico Library launch of Reading Well Books on Prescription – Dementia Collection

They also listened to a poetry reading by Diane Sherlock, author of ‘Come into the Garden’ – a collection of poems written when caring for her mother who was living with vascular dementia after a stroke. Copies of ‘Come into the Garden’ are available in all libraries in the three boroughs and are being used in our ‘read aloud’ bibliotherapy groups.

Remembering Together artefacts at Paddington LibraryKathryn Gilfoy, from Westminster Arts, brought the display of artefacts created by artists and individuals living with Dementia – as shown in our recent ‘Remembering Together’ post.

There followed launches at North Kensington and Brompton libraries (read more on the RBKC Libraries blog) and at Hammersmith and Fulham libraries (read more on LBHF Libraries). Five different launches in different libraries in the three boroughs, only made possible by joint working with library staff and health and community partners.

Very warm thanks to Sara, Ronnie and Luigi at Pimlico and all colleagues!  Thanks to Diane Sherlock and Nell Dunn who donated their time and to Kathryn and Freya from Westminster Arts. Thanks to the Stroke Association who donate their time and resources to help prevent vascular dementia by preventing stroke.

Libraries are doing their bit for Dementia.  If you would like to join the Dementia Alliance, contact Helen.ODonovan@alzheimers.org.uk.


Remembering Together

Remembering Together artefacts at Paddington Library

Dementia is moving up the public consciousness and society is devoting more resources to dealing with our ageing population, many of whom may develop some form of dementia. Doctors and psychologists are researching ways to support people to live well with dementia and one way is to use the arts to work with people to bring memories alive in the present. This can involve the use of objects and pictures from the past which are meaningful for that person.

Paddington Library recently hosted a display of artwork by a group of artists from a range of arts backgrounds who had been volunteering on the Westminster Arts’ project Remembering Together, which was aimed at people living with dementia and their family carers. After 3 months of getting to know the participants, the artists designed personal items for the people they had worked with most closely, for example a memory cushion covered in photos or a pack of cards for a lady who loved playing bridge each week with a photo taken from her family life or their time together on the project. Some of the participants visited the display, which was shown in the library as a way of raising awareness of the positive impact artwork and the use of personal objects can have on people living with memory loss.

Remembering Together artefacts at Paddington Library“Going out weekly was something to look forward to, to meet new people to talk, engage in social activities, engage in creative activity and role play in an environment that was safe. Time for carers to meet up and talk freely with each other and give or obtain relevant advice. I enjoyed all the sessions as this was quality time spent with my mum in a different social environment and I really enjoyed the singing and creative work.”
– Sandra, carer

[Kathryn and Laurence]

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.