Having spent time watching the videos and answering the questions during the Dementia Friends online course, I became instantly more aware and confident about dementia and the small ways you can help. Our libraries team supports a growing community and there has been a subsequent rise in the number of people affected by dementia in Horowhenua. It occurred to me that the rest of our team would benefit from the course and together we could make a positive difference to the lives of people with dementia.
Libraries Horowhenua staff took on the challenge to become Dementia Friends in November, with the promise of a choccy fish and a celebratory morning tea. The aim was to have at least 10 new Dementia Friends by the end of that month. By the end of the first day we had already reached our goal! By the end of the month we had 24 new Dementia Friends to service our three library sites at Levin, Foxton and Shannon, which will benefit those living with dementia and their carers across Horowhenua.
The course has put dementia and its effects to the forefront of our minds. Alzheimers NZ have helped us to recognise the signs of dementia and reminds us to practice kindness and patience at all times. The badges and wristbands are worn with pride by our whole team, including staff who work at our AA and I-site desks. We hope that these little accessories indicate to people affected by dementia, that our libraries are safe spaces that say, “We’re with you. We’ve got your back.” There’s still much to learn on our journey to becoming more dementia aware but for now the Libraries Horowhenua team can be proud to have taken a step in the right direction.
Services to Older Adults Librarian, Apiha Ratonga Kiritaki