Staff awareness and dementia-specific training is key to providing the best activities and services for those living with dementia, a new study from Age UK revealed.
The new report revealed that the attitudes held by staff influenced the types of services available to dementia sufferers.
A programme that included consultants from Innovations in Dementia and Dementia Adventure worked with staff and volunteers at 46 local Age UKs to understand how services can be restructured to be more dementia-friendly.
The programme revealed that by reshaping the environment within which activities are provided positively affected those living with dementia.
By improving the attitudes of staff towards dementia, those participating in the programme were able to understand how better to adjust the services they offered to better suit their clients.
By altering the location of activities or by adding colour and music to exercise sessions, as well as the use of reminiscence boxes and memory balls, staff were able to better support those living with dementia.
The study read: “We weren’t looking to expand activities, but [the consultant support] changed the mind of the organisation.
“We used to keep people in secure rooms, delivering services in buildings, apart from the garden. We hadn’t recognised the opportunity to get people safely into [outdoor] spaces.”
The study also revealed that through a deeper understanding of dementia, staff were able to be more confident and less-risk averse when supporting their clients.
The study continued: “Staff and volunteers reported being more aware of what a person living with dementia can and can’t do, which gave them the confidence to invite them to take part in activities aimed at the general older population, rather than also thinking they needed to organise something exclusively aimed at people with dementia.”