Dementia Action Week 2019

Over a third of people living with dementia feel lonely or have lost touch with their friends following a diagnosis. With thousands of people living with dementia facing isolation, the theme for Dementia Action Week 2019 which ran from 20 to 26 May was inclusion.

At intu, we were united in our approach to support Dementia Awareness Week across our centres and offices by hosting inclusive events and activities that we hope improve the lives of people living with dementia.

Many intu centres held Dementia Friends training sessions, which educated our employees about dementia, and means they have the knowledge to give visitors with dementia understanding, care and the time necessary to ensure that the visit is a positive and joyful experience. Many retailers joined the training, helping to ensure our customer journey is safe and secure from when they enter an intu centre to when they leave.

We further supported Dementia Awareness Week by inviting dementia-related charities from the local areas around our centres to speak to customers and staff about dementia, answering any questions and signposting for support. We incorporated chatty hour to the week giving customers another chance to engage with others in their communities about dementia. Customers also had the chance to reminisce about how our centres have changed over the years by looking at our memory wall and leaving messages on memory trees.

It’s important that everyone has a smile on their face whenever they visit an intu centre, so we hosted knitting and singing sessions – both of which are proven to evoke happy emotions. Those at the sessions knitted ‘twiddle muffs’, which are knitted muffs with items attached so that a patient with dementia can twiddle in their hands to help reduce anxiety.

intu Watford hosted activities over the week as part of the town’s pledge to become a Dementia Friendly town. A virtual reality bus held immersive awareness sessions, and retailers also got customers active in exercise classes and offered pampering treats for carers.

Across the business, many intu staff took part in memory walks to raise awareness and money for such an important cause.

Having dementia can be a lonely experience, but the intention behind Dementia Awareness Week is to show that by creating dementia-friendly communities, people with dementia can live well.