Organised by the Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia Action Week (DAW) is an annual event aimed at bringing communities and organisations together to improve the lives of people living with dementia. This year DAW is taking place from Monday 16 May to Sunday 22 May.

What is Dementia?

The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not the only one.

Committed to Dementia Awareness

Thompson Smith and Puxon (TSP) trains all its staff to ensure they have the skills and understanding to support our clients with Dementia. We already have a number staff who are Dementia Friends, having completed the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends training.  We are continuing this training and have pledged to have 50% of our staff Dementia Friend trained by April 2023.

In October 2020, TSP was awarded the ‘Working Towards Dementia Friendly Status’ from Tendring Dementia Action Alliance in recognition of our continued work in supporting and raising awareness of Dementia. We believe that research is key to improving dementia care and TSP is committed to delivering better outcomes for individuals with dementia and their carers through the work we do.

Dementia Support in the Community

TSP are similarly committed to offering support within the local community to people with Dementia and their families. Members of the TSP Wills and Estates team attend the monthly Dementia cafe at the C3 Church in Colchester. They also attend the seasonal seniors coffee morning at the PCC Cafe, where they answer any queries from carers, seniors and people who have been diagnosed with Dementia. TSP have also been providing our Planning Ahead Guide and TSP tote bags to Community 360 so they can create support packs for carers and people living with Dementia.

Our offices in Clacton and Colchester are wheelchair accessible and we have literature on the Alzheimer’s Family Navigating service available. We recognise that not everyone living with Dementia will be able to get to our offices, and offer home visits to accommodate each individual client’s needs.  

Solicitors for the Elderly

Our Wills & Estates Team Leader Fiona Ashworth and solicitors Aileen Hirst and Nicola Healy are full accredited members of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE); an independent national organisation of legal professionals who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers. They are also fully qualified members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). STEP is the leading worldwide professional body for practitioners in the fields of Trusts, Estates and related issues. STEP members help families to plan for their long term financial future, providing expert advice on how to comply with the often complex law and tax rules surrounding Trusts, Estates and Inheritance.

How can you help?

There are many ways that you can help increase awareness and support those with dementia in the community, including becoming a Dementia Friend. Below are two initiatives that have been introduced to support individuals with dementia and their carers:

  • Alzheimer’s Society ‘This is Me’. The Alzheimer’s Society have produced a simple leaflet for anyone receiving professional care who is living with dementia or experiencing delirium or other communication difficulties. ‘This is me’ can be used to record details about a person who can’t easily share information about themselves. The information helps health and social care professionals better understand who the person really is, which can help them deliver care that is tailored to the person’s needs. The leaflet can be downloaded here.
  • ‘The Herbert Protocol’ is an initiative which has been adopted by Essex Police. It is a form that carers, family or friends of a vulnerable person, or the person themselves can fill in. It contains a list of information to help the police if the person goes missing, including; medication required, mobile numbers and a recent photograph. More information about the protocol can be found here.