“Community Areas of Action” are frequently used places by the members of the community. These include businesses such as banks, post offices, local shops, and cafes. Also included in community areas are recreational facilities such as museums, parks, libraries, and gyms. Residents step out of their homes to enjoy community interaction that happens in these areas.
People with dementia, much like everyone else, get isolated and depressed if confined to their homes. People living with dementia commonly use local facilities such as shops, pubs, schools, and gyms. A person with dementia usually goes to known and long-time frequented facilities such as the library, churches, barber shops etc.
But for some people living with dementia and care-givers stepping out of home is a scary thought . Due to the fear of social stigma and fear of becoming lost, people with dementia are reluctant to go to any community areas. People with dementia need support in various forms to navigate their surroundings. A community committed to accommodating the needs of persons with dementia actively seeks guidance and training for making community areas dementia-friendly.
Small steps, Big impact
Dementia-friendly community areas are created by having an awareness and desire to support persons living with dementia. For instance, when the layout of a shop or facility is changed (“things are moved around”), a person with dementia may feel confused or even lost. Furthermore, a person with dementia may take more time to find money or pack their bags. Businesses may need to train their staff to serve individuals with dementia. People with dementia, just like everyone else, may forget what you said but people always remember how you made them feel.
A dementia-friendly community encourages participation of persons living with dementia by alleviating their worries and fears. It designs new ways to boost confidence, foster independence, and encourage access community areas. E.g., having adequate directions or signs posted on doors and hallways.
Accessing community areas of action is often dependent on transportation available. Persons with dementia access public transport depending on factors such as a lack of public transport, familiarity with public transport, and staff at public transport.
Persons with dementia may need to access community areas for their employment. Employers of individuals with dementia need to be aware that dementia progresses over time. Often, a person with dementia is able to continue employment with or without accommodations for a while. The accommodations may vary from person to person. For instance, some employees with dementia may need to direction signage in hallways; some employees with dementia may need a checklist of tasks they do; while some may need to move away from customer facing roles. A periodic review and an open dialogue can help support your employee with dementia. If the person with dementia chooses to retire, then support their decision with compassion.
The ability to visit community areas improves the quality of life for people living with dementia. This has positive health outcomes such as reduced depression, increased positive feelings such as joy, and physical fitness. Instead of institutionalizing people with dementia, a focus on enabling them to be active members of society is a paradigm shift. At AlzCare Labs, we are committed to making that shift possible.
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