Council staff to take a ‘Step Inside Dementia’ as part of new project

John Wright and partner Margaret Johnson, with Coun Tracey Dixon and Alzheimer Society's Liz Williams.
John Wright and partner Margaret Johnson, with Coun Tracey Dixon and Alzheimer Society's Liz Williams.

South Tyneside is to become the first area in the region of offer specialist training to staff to enable them to better support those living with dementia.

The project aims to give a team of front line adult social care staff the skills and confidence they need to help people with the condition. The ‘Step Inside Dementia’ course will also see them learning how to communicate over the phone with people diagnosed with dementia.

We are expecting a 50 per cent increase in the number of people with dementia by 2030 so this training is vital to ensure our staff have the knowledge to be able to effectively support them.

Coun Tracey Dixon

On successful completion of the training, they will become a Dementia Friend, moving the borough a step closer to becoming a dementia-friendly community.

Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for independence and wellbeing, said: “We are expecting a 50 per cent increase in the number of people with dementia by 2030 so this training is vital to ensure our staff have the knowledge to be able to effectively support them.

“By learning how dementia affects individuals, our staff will gain the skills needed to allow them to build positive relationships with residents living with the condition and their carers.”

John Wright, 72, who worked as fork lift truck driver before being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s seven years ago, said: “I haven’t had problems with the staff I have come into contact with but I would think this training will help a great deal.

“I want to be able to live in my own home and be a part of my community for as long as possible so anything that helps me to do this is to be welcomed. Having staff trained to understand my condition more effectively is incredibly important.”

A Memory Walk will take place tomorrow starting at 10am in Bents Park, South Shields, to raise awareness of dementia.