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Helping Hands receives top rating from Alzheimer’s Society for dementia-friendly branch

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Helping Hands Home Care have received the highest rating possible from Alzheimer’s Society for their commitment to dementia-friendly spaces.

Watch the branch walk-through here.

In a recent audit conducted by Alzheimer’s Society, the Rothwell branch, near Leeds, received a level 1 rating out of 4, where the environment provides the best possible opportunity for people living with dementia.

Using the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly Audit Tool, the branch was rated on eight key areas including signage, lighting, navigation and décor – with the criteria being met for all eight categories.

dementia-friendly-branch-sitting-area

The seating area in the branch is in a traditional style, with images on the wall to display the history of the local area to encourage visitors to take a step back in time.

Helping Hands and Alzheimer’s Society are working together on an ongoing project to make the home care provider’s 160-plus branches dementia friendly, a first for any home care organisation in the UK.

Richard Venables, Head of Property for Helping Hands, said: “It’s great to be working in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society and gaining accreditation from them for our dementia-friendly spaces. We are aiming to incorporate this standard in all of our branches going forward, to give the best working environments for colleagues, the best training opportunities for carers and inclusivity for customers.”

He continued: “Our contractor, REMS Solutions Ltd, who completed the fit out of the branch, conducted research with Alzheimer’s Society before the plans were submitted and have done a wonderful job on the look and feel of the interior.”

dementia-firendly-branch-bookshelf

There is a sensory bookcase in the seating area to encourage people to handle objects on display.

Sophie Tucker, Product Development Officer for Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Dementia-friendly design is important to make spaces more inclusive for people living with dementia. As dementia progresses, people can experience a range of difficulties that can make navigating the environment more difficult. They might experience visio-spatial difficulties where it is not as easy to recognise depth-perception, or might mis-perceive patterns on walls and flooring. This could cause the person with dementia to become upset, scared or more confused when in an unfamiliar environment.”

When asked, how do dementia-friendly spaces help individuals with dementia, Sophie said: “It can help the person with dementia to navigate both familiar and unfamiliar environments, providing them with a positive experience of the space, reducing anxiety and confusion. It can also enable the person to be more independent if it is clear how they can move around the space or how to enter or leave rooms. It can also be key to ensuring the space is safe for the person with dementia to be in, enabling them to live independently for as long as possible.”

dementia-friendly-branch-reception-area

Providing a warm welcome to visitors, the reception desk is clearly marked for those visiting the branch.

The home care provider are committed to supporting people at home living with dementia, and have put a list together of ways in which you can make a home more dementia-friendly. They include minimal decoration, labels for key items and displaying photos of loved ones.

For more information on how to make any environment dementia friendly, visit the Alzheimer’s Society’s Learning Hub.

If you would like care for yourself or a loved one living with dementia, you can find out more here.

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