10/09/2015

Keighley’s Dementia Sufferers Championed By Shopping Centre

 

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Maggie Fenton (left) and Mandy Simpson (right) are undergoing specialist coaching to take Airedale Shopping Centre closer to achieving Dementia Friendly status. They are pictured with Dementia Champion Maggie Marsden (centre)

The Airedale Shopping Centre is hoping to be declared Dementia Friendly through the training scheme, run by the Alzheimer’s Society, and has already made sure most workers on the in-house team have been trained.

Mandy, aged 50, added:

“All of our cleaners, maintenance team and security staff are already Dementia Friends and once Maggie and I become Dementia Champions we can make sure everyone else gets that training too.”

Administration manager Maggie, who lives in Bradford, said:

“My own father had dementia in his later years and I know how people can misunderstand the actions of those that are suffering.

“It’s not just forgetfulness, sometimes people can go into a kind of trance so it’s important to make others aware of what they can do to help.

“I think society has to become more accepting of the fact that this is a growing concern and not one that should be hidden.

“It’s not too much to ask that everyone takes consideration for everyone else in society and anything that comes from increasing that awareness can only be a good thing,” added the 55-year-old.

The achievement of the two, and the shopping centre’s dedication to helping dementia sufferers, has been welcomed by dementia action supporter Maggie Marsden.

A Dementia Friend for nearly two years, Maggie said:

“I have been running sessions at the Airedale every month, but once Maggie and Mandy become Dementia Champions they will be able to work with tenants and staff in the stores much more easily and flexibly to allow more and more people to become aware.

“They will become part of a new team of Champions who are going to spread that message throughout the community – not just at the shopping centre but the council, schools, hospitals, businesses and across all sectors.”

Maggie, who lives in Laycock and has now recruited 187 Dementia Friends, first became interested in dementia after her dog walking business took on a client who could no longer walk her own pet due to the illness.

“I got to know her, and after a while started taking her for a walk with me as she was physically fit and active.

“I realised that having a greater understanding and being able to empathise with dementia sufferers greatly improved their quality of life.”

Airedale Shopping Centre Manager Steve Seymour said:

“We aim to provide those living with the condition, whether it’s somebody who has been diagnosed or their carers, with an enhanced level of customer support.

“Dementia is a hidden condition, and it’s not always obvious if you don’t know the person, especially in the early stages. The numbers of those diagnosed are steadily growing and it’s something that every business needs to consider in their dealings with customers.”

There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK with numbers set to rise to more than one million by 2021.

For more about Bradford Alzheimer’s Society, ring 01274 733880, or call the national helpline on 0300 222 11 22 or visit alzheimers.org.uk

 

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