A Dementia Action Day held in Truro on Saturday proved hugely successful with almost 200 people attending._MG_2124

Organised by Churches Together in Cornwall, the event was held at Truro Cathedral and Truro Methodist Church. The Rt Reverend Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro, welcomed those present and spoke of the need for organisations including the church to consider how far they are dementia friendly.

Trevor Adams from Livability then took to the floor to give an informative talk about dementia and the 800,000 people in the UK who are living with some degree of dementia today, and the impact on them and their loved ones. Mr Adams spoke of the importance of ‘person centred care’ and the benefits of good treatment._MG_2108

Following this a very visual and moving demonstration, through a series of scenarios of the problems faced by people with dementia and their loved ones, was performed by Penryn based theatre group AZ2B and the audience were asked to suggest their recommendations and solutions.

Those present were able to enjoy a pasty and fruit lunch in Truro Methodist Church and visit the Market Place featuring 24 voluntary groups and organisations who provide help and support for those living with dementia.

In the afternoon came a session led by Trevor Adams entitled “Supporting and being Inclusive” and the chance to experience Music for Wellbeing, before the event closed with an act of Memory Friendly Worship, then tea and cake.

David Smith, Churches Together in Cornwall Ecumenical Missioner, said: “A great day was truly had by all present and I want to thank the organisers for all their time and efforts. Those participants that I spoke with welcomed the opportunity to learn more about the stages and onset of Dementia. The main speaker set the scene very well and the actors brought the scenarios alive, moving some present to tears. The Market Place was awash with sounds of communication and the closing worship was an example of what might be in all our churches. A truly learning experience.”

Bishop Tim said: “This is a first step. There is much more we can do. This day has been about honest engagement, real listening going on to what the issues really are. For the future we must encourage people to put this on their agenda in a real way, not just in a lip-serving way.”

Organisers are now looking for ideas and suggestions as to how greater awareness can be generated. Organiser Christine Todd said: “It would be really useful for us to have suggestions as to how the awareness generated could be taken forward around the diocese and county. Would Dementia Friends awareness sessions for groups help? Would people be interested in workshops specifically on how to be a dementia friendly church?”

To pass on ideas, email christine@mjcmtodd.plus.com

Transcripts from the AZ2B theatre group performance can be found on the Diocese of Truro website: http://www.trurodiocese.org.uk/mission/community/dementia-action/