Dignity Action Day is an annual event, UK wide, which provides the opportunity for health and social care workers, and members of the public to uphold people’s rights to dignity and provide a truly memorable day for people who use care services. This represents a very broad spectrum of people and services and can affect all age ranges, and sections of society.
There are 8 factors that promote dignity in care:
- Choice and control
- Eating and Nutritional Care
- Pain management
- Personal Hygiene
- Practical Assistance
- Social inclusion
The Indian Community Centre in Normanton, under the banner of the SEWA project, led by Ravi Mattu, is committed to providing many services and opportunities to help the over 55s in the Indian Community.
On Monday 2 February, an event was held, in conjunction with Making Space in Derby, to promote a number of topics.
The day opened with the showing of a short film ( filmed and edited by myself) which was a simple interview with Kashmir, a volunteer from the Centre, who explained her story, and emphasized the importance of seeking help and support if you suspect you might have dementia. For most people this is a difficult subject to talk about, and embarrassing for many, so it was helpful that someone they knew, stood up and talked openly about their concerns and experiences.
This was followed by a presentation given by Honor Simpson of Making Space, on the many ways in which organisations can provide support, and the actions that everyone can take to help themselves.
The key messages were around:
- Seeking early diagnosis
- Get support as early as possible to help secure the right therapy and treatment for the specific needs of the individual
- Talking about dementia to friends and family
- Actions to help with memory, maintain brain and physical activity, eating and living healthily – all of which can delay the onset.
- Most importantly “A diagnosis of dementia does not stop a person from leading a fulfilling and rewarding life”
A number of Champions have come forward from the within the Indian Community Centre to promote open discussion on this subject.
As the cold weather is beginning to set in there was also a presentation from “Winter Friends” which is a local initiative within Community Action, to help vulnerable people over the age of 65 with everyday tasks. This could be just simple tasks like collecting prescriptions, taking someone to an appointment, clearing the snow etc. The role of a Winter Champion is there to help someone plan what help they may need during the winter months.
At the end of the session, the Derby City Council ( in conjunction with the South Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group) introduced the themes for the consultation process. This is part of the activity of updating the grant aid outcomes for adult preventative services. The outcome are in place to define the differences that the funders want from the grant funded projects. These outcomes will then be used when asking for bids from the voluntary sector, and will be effective from 1 October 2015. Contrary to popular belief no voluntary sector organization has had any grants cut – they have all been extended for 6 months whilst the consultation process, and budget setting is finalized.
There is a moving poem in the Making Space booklet, which wonderfully summarises how a dementia sufferer would wish to be treated and regarded:
I AM STILL ME
Look at me, I am still me
I may not look or act like I did years ago
But I am still me
When I am scared, I may cry, I may wander
Reassure me, talk with me
When I am frustrated, I may scream
I may strike out, let me know I am safe,
Explain to me what I should do
When I am cold or hungry, I may yell, or be restless
Help me find comfort, ask me what I like to eat
Look at me, I am still me
I just need your help now to guide me, to comfort me
BUT I AM STILL ME
Erika K Salmeron, RN
Nurse manager of Dementia Unit, 2006