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RD&E staff and patients #DoSomethingNew for Dementia Awareness Week


Staff and patients at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital have been trying out new skills during this year’s Dementia Awareness Week (17 - 23 May) to show having dementia doesn’t mean you can’t try out new things.


The national campaign is organised by the Alzheimer’s Society to raise awareness of the symptoms of Dementia. This year’s campaign asked people to try something new. The Alzheimer’s Society believes that life doesn't end when dementia begins, and that having dementia doesn't mean stopping doing the things you love and trying new things. They encouraged everyone to do something different during the week and to share it with the Alzheimer’s Society via social media using the hashtags #DoSomethingNew and #DAW2015.


This was a campaign that staff at the RD&E were keen to support, and a whole host of activities and events were arranged to encourage staff and patients to try out new skills.


Patients were encouraged to try their hand at decorating biscuits and cookies with Chef Darrin Hosgrove from Ashburton Cookery School and volunteers from the Alzheimer’s Society; Iain McMillan from local charity Pets as Therapy visited the wards with his cockapoo Jenna; Age UK stopped by on Durbin Ward to take part in some creative colouring sessions with patients; and the Alzheimer’s Society also held a story making event on Ashburn. Finally, a group of patients were invited to a special cream tea in the hospital’s Devon Garden to mark the end of this year’s Dementia Awareness week.


Meanwhile staff from Torridge, Kenn and Bovey Wards dusted off their baking trays and held cake sales in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society; the X-Ray Department organised a raffle; the Surgical Outpatients team held a competition and tried their hand at new crafts; and volunteers from the South West Comms Band serenaded patients on the wards during an evening performance. 


RD&E Consultant Nurse for Older People, Debbie Cheeseman, said: “This has been a fantastic week to raise awareness about the work we are doing for our patients and I am so pleased with the support that everyone has shown. It is really important to encourage patients with dementia to try out new things or maintain their hobbies because all activity, however small, stimulates the mind and encourages interaction with others.  In hospital this is particularly important as people with dementia are more likely to become disorientated by their experiences.  The activities we have done this week have been enthusiastically received by patients, their families and our staff.”


Find out more about Dementia Awareness Week at www.alzheimers.org.uk/remembertheperson


 

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