Organised by the Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia Action Week (DAW) is an annual event aimed at bringing communities and organisations together to take action to improve the lives of people living with dementia. This year DAW is taking place from Monday 20 May to Sunday 26 May and Thompson Smith and Puxon is pleased to be able to support the event.

Dementia Friends Training for Staff

The Dementia Friends programme is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative designed to change people’s perceptions of dementia. TSP currently has five Dementia Friends, four of whom are based in our Clacton Office (pictured left) and one in Colchester. However, in support of DAW the firm is giving its entire staff the opportunity to become a Dementia Friend and will be offering Dementia Friends sessions in both our Colchester and Clacton offices on Wednesday 22 May.

Becoming a Dementia Friend is not an onerous commitment. The emphasis is on learning about dementia, being aware, and recognising the small ways in which you can help. It is also possible to sign up at www.dementiafriends.org.uk 

Pictured, left to right, are Clacton-based TSP Lawyers and Dementia Friends, Adina Milleare, Carly Callaghan, Marie Crawley and Sarah White.

Other Dementia Friendly Activities

As well as the training mentioned above TSP will also be supporting the activities of the local Colchester and Tendring –based Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) Groups. Thompson Smith and Puxon is a member of both local groups and regularly attend the DAA meetings held in Colchester and Clacton.

  • Attend the Art Exhibition at the Community 360 hub in Colchester on Monday 20 May
  • Attend the regular Dementia Café meeting at Sam’s Hall in Clacton hosted by Tendring CVS
  • Attend the Market stall on Colchester High Street on Friday 24 May which is organised by Community 360

There are a number of other local events taking place in support of DAW also

  • Community 360 will be bring the Virtual Dementia Tour to Colchester Leisure World on Tuesday 21 May
  • On Wednesday 22 May Foxburrow Grange Care Home will host a Dementia Kitchen – residents will cook for their families – and there will also be a History Walk at Castle Park organised by the Alzheimer’s Society.

The purpose of the DAA groups is to increase awareness of dementia across their districts by recruiting organisations such as TSP to

  • Roll out Dementia Friends Awareness sessions, particularly for customer facing staff
  • Adopt dementia friendly measures
  • Meet regularly with those organisations and develop a plan

The Clacton meetings are attended by one of our four Clacton-based Dementia Friends and in Colchester, Wills and Estates solicitor, Pragna Chhagan, who is also a Dementia Friend,  represents the firm.

Living with Dementia: The Statistics

According to Alzheimer’s Research UK Dementia is the UK’s greatest medical challenge. Their statistics, published at the end of 2017, highlighted that one in three people have a family member or close friend living with dementia. They also found that the Clacton parliamentary constituency is one of the top three locations with the highest prevalence of dementia, per head of population at 24 per 1000 (Source: Alzheimers Research UK). According to the Tendring Dementia Action Alliance group the number of people diagnosed with dementia in Tendring in 2013 was 2973. The actual number is likely to be much higher considering that only 44% of people actually receive a diagnosis (Source: Dementia Action Alliance).

In 2018 Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) launched a campaign to encourage people to tackle the taboos around end of life planning, in order to prevent an incapacity crisis. Headline figures from their research are as follows:

  • 97% of people in the East of England leave important health and welfare decisions to chance
  • By 2025, more than 13 million people who are at risk of mental incapacity will not be prepared
  • 70% would like a family member to make medical and care decisions on their behalf, in the event of mental incapacity
  • 77%haven’t discussed end of life medical and care wishes
  • 36% admit to having made no provisions at all, such as a Will, LPA, pension or funeral plan

(Source: tsplegal.com)

Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE): Is an independent national organisation of legal professionals who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers. Wills and Estates team leader Fiona Ashworth and Associate Solicitors Aileen Hirst (Colchester) and Sarah White (Clacton) are full accredited members of SFE.  You can find out more here.