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Out and about in Rhyl – finding out about dementia awareness in the town

September 23, 2019

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Guest Blog by Ruth Eley, DVSC Associate & Director and Vice-chair at Life Story Network

 

 

How it all began

 

Earlier this year Life Story Network was asked to carry out a community mapping exercise for DVSC to identify the current level of dementia awareness and activity across the county. This contributed to DVSC’s Dementia Aware Community Led programme.

 

The exercise suggested that although there was some activity in Rhyl – and two local voluntary organisations had received community grants for specific projects from DVSC’s first round of funding - there appeared to be no overall co-ordination or leadership, and as a consequence

activities were disconnected.

 

As a result, I was asked by DVSC to spend some more time in Rhyl as part of a ‘deep dive’ to find out what was going on, who was involved and how activities might be better joined up. Most importantly, is there an appetite for working together to help Rhyl become more dementia aware?

 

Where to start?

 

Being a former local government employee, I have a lot of regard for the role of councils as community leaders, so a good place to start was with Councillor Ellie Chard, just taking over as Mayor of the town and already the Older People’s Lead for Denbighshire County Council. I’d met her at the launch of the Dementia Aware Community Led Programme in May and been impressed by her enthusiasm and stated wish for the Town Council to take a more active role.

 

We met for a coffee in the library (highly recommended) and she confirmed her commitment to secure the Town Council’s support. She  gave me a list of suggested contacts and promised to follow up with a few more. I was away! What followed were emails, phone calls, meetings and more suggestions – a bit like following the clues in a treasure hunt…

 

What did I find?

 

Of the 21 contacts: 

• 14 agreed to meet

• 2 were keen to share information but we agreed we did not need to meet

• 5 did not respond yet

 

Everyone I met was interested and keen to learn more about DVSC’s programme and to get involved in the network. Many were already involved in dementia-related activities or were aware of individuals who participated in their more generic projects who had cognition or memory problems. Several took up the offer of Dementia Friends’ Awareness sessions to be delivered by DVSC team members and all agreed in principle to come to an open meeting, diaries permitting, to discuss how organisations might work better together and turn awareness into action.

 

They welcomed the idea of being part of a bigger network of organisations – but there was a word of caution from smaller bodies that they have limited capacity to take on leadership roles. The Christian communities in the town I met – Catholic, United Reform and Salvation Army – were particularly keen to link up.

 

At my request the Community Mental Health team arranged for me to meet some people with dementia and carers to discuss what they thought was important. Unfortunately, only one couple were able to make it on the day (dementia is an unpredictable animal) but I had a very interesting discussion with Linda and Kevin who emphasised the importance of friendly and patient customer service; quiet areas in restaurants; being known in your local community so people can offer help if needed; and the Plus One bus pass which means someone can accompany the person with dementia for free. I was later able to talk to Christine, who looks after husband Roger; she added the importance of  staff awareness of dementia (essential); shopping in familiar places where things stay the same (take note, supermarkets!), as it helps people to remain independent; and seeking early advice about financial affairs – the Nat West bank got a gold star for their help.

 

What next?

 

DVSC held two open meetings on 22 August. The room was buzzing with ideas and offers of help – meeting rooms, social media, publicity – and about nine people indicated they were willing to be part of discussions to form an action group. Nice one!

 

We are addressing the Town Council meeting in October and hope to obtain their formal support. Next step is to bring people back together, work out what the priorities are for Dementia Aware Rhyl and identify who can do what.

 

Thanks to everyone who contributed to our deep dive in Rhyl and to our intelligence gathering!

 

Join us for the next meeting of the Dementia Aware Denbighshire Network, on Friday 27th September from 11.00 am till 13.00pm at the Rhyl & District Rugby Club.

 

We will be sharing ideas on how to become an inclusive, dementia aware County and will present the full report of our community mapping survey in co-production with Life Story Network.

Successful recipients from DVSC’s Grants programme will be showcasing their projects and we will also be hearing from our first Dementia Aware Action Groups.

 

Register on Eventbrite: bit.ly/DementiaAwareCommunityLedNetwork

 

Or call us on 01824 702 441.

O gwmpas y Rhyl – dysgu am ymwybyddiaeth dementia yn y dref

 

Sut y dechreuodd y cyfan

 

Yn gynharach eleni gofynnwyd i Life Story Network gynnal ymarfer mapio cymunedol ar ran Cyngor Gwasanaethau Gwirfoddol Sir Ddinbych (CGGSDd) i nodi lefel gyfredol yr ymwybyddiaeth dementia a gweithgareddau hyrwyddo ymwybyddiaeth dementia ar draws y sir. Gwnaeth hyn gyfrannu at raglen Dementia Ymwybodol dan arweiniad y Gymuned CGGSDd.

 

Awgrymodd yr ymarfer, er bod peth gweithgarwch yn y Rhyl – ac roedd dau fudiad gwirfoddol lleol wedi derbyn grantiau cymunedol ar gyfer prosiectau penodol o rownd gyntaf cyllid grant CGGSDd – nad oedd unrhyw gydlynu neu arweinyddiaeth dros y cyfan, ac o ganlyniad doedd dim cysylltiad rhwng y gweithgareddau.

 

O ganlyniad, gofynnodd CGGSDd i mi dreulio mwy o amser yn y Rhyl fel rhan o astudiaeth fanylach i ganfod beth oedd yn digwydd, pwy oedd yn ymwneud â hynny a sut y gellir cydlynu’r gweithgareddau’n well. Yn bwysicaf, a oedd awydd yn y Rhyl i weithio gyda’i gilydd i fod yn fwy ymwybodol o ddementia?

 

Lle i ddechrau?

 

Fel cyn gyflogai llywodraeth leol mae gen i barch mawr tuag at rôl cynghorau fel arweinyddion cymunedol, felly lle da i ddechrau oedd gyda’r Cynghorydd Ellie Chard, a oedd newydd gael ei sefydlu’n Faer y dref ac eisoes yn Hyrwyddwr Pobl Hŷn Cyngor Sir Ddinbych. Roeddwn i wedi’i chyfarfod hi yn lansiad y Rhaglen Dementia Ymwybodol dan arweiniad y Gymuned ym mis Mai, ac roedd ei brwdfrydedd wedi gwneud argraff arnaf a’i bod yn dymuno i’r Cyngor Tref fod yn fwy gweithgar yn y maes hwn.

 

Gwnaethom gyfarfod am goffi yn y llyfrgell (a gallaf ei argymell yn fawr) a  chadarnhaodd ei hymrwymiad i sicrhau cefnogaeth y Cyngor Tref. Rhoddodd restr o enwau cyswllt i mi, gydag addewid i gyflenwi rhagor. Amdani felly! Yn dilyn hynny bu llu o negeseuon e-bost, galwadau ffôn, cyfarfodydd a mwy o awgrymiadau – ychydig fel dilyn y cliwiau mewn helfa drysor …

 

Beth wnes i ganfod?

 

O’r 21 enw cyswllt:

• Cytunodd 14 i gyfarfod gyda mi

• Roedd 2 yn awyddus i rannu gwybodaeth ond nid oedd angen i ni gyfarfod

• 5 heb ymateb hyd yma

 

Roedd pawb y gwnes i eu cyfarfod yn dangos diddordeb ac yn awyddus i ddysgu rhagor am raglen CGGSDd a chymryd rhan yn y rhwydwaith. Roedd llawer eisoes yn ymwneud â gweithgareddau’n gysylltiedig â dementia neu’n ymwybodol o unigolion a oedd yn cymryd rhan mewn prosiectau mwy cyffredinol a bod ganddynt broblemau adnabod a/neu gofio. Gwnaeth nifer dderbyn y cynnig i gael sesiwn Ffrindiau Dementia gan aelodau tîm CGGSDd a chytunodd y cyfan mewn egwyddor i ddod i gyfarfod agored, os oedd eu dyddiadur yn caniatáu, i drafod sut y gallai mudiadau weithio’n well gyda’i gilydd i droi ymwybyddiaeth yn weithredu.

 

Croesawyd y syniad o fod yn rhan o rwydwaith mwy o faint – ond roedd gair o rybudd gan gyrff llai o ran eu capasiti cyfyngedig i ymgymryd â rolau arweinyddiaeth. Roedd y cymunedau Cristnogol yn y dref y gwnes gyfarfod â nhw – Catholig, Diwygiedig Unedig a Byddin yr Iachawdwriaeth – yn arbennig o awyddus i weithio gyda’i gilydd.

 

Ar fy nghais i trefnodd y tîm Iechyd Meddwl Cymunedol i mi gyfarfod rhai pobl gyda dementia a’u gofalwyr i drafod yr hyn oedd yn bwysig yn eu barn nhw. Yn anffodus, dim ond un pâr lwyddodd i ddod ar y diwrnod (mae dementia yn gyflwr anodd i’w ragfynegi) ond cefais drafodaeth ddiddorol iawn gyda Linda a Kevin, wnaeth bwysleisio pwysigrwydd gwasanaethau cwsmer cyfeillgar ac amyneddgar; ardaloedd distaw mewn bwytai; bod yn adnabyddus yn eich cymuned leol fel bod pobl yn medru cynnig cymorth pan fo angen; a’r tocyn bws +1 sy’n golygu y gall  rhywun fod yn gydymaith i’r unigolyn â dementia am ddim. Yn ddiweddarach cefais gyfle i sgwrsio gyda Christine, sy’n gofalu am ei gŵr Roger; ychwanegodd hi bwysigrwydd ymwybyddiaeth staff ynghylch dementia (hanfodol); siopa mewn lleoedd cyfarwydd lle mae pethau’n aros yr un fath (cymrwch sylw, archfarchnadoedd!), gan ei fod yn helpu pobl i barhau’n annibynnol; a cheisio cyngor yn gynnar am faterion ariannol – cafodd fanc Nat West seren aur ganddi am eu help.

 

Beth nesaf?

 

Cynhaliodd CGGSDd ddau gyfarfod agored ar 22 Awst. Roedd yr ystafell yn llawn syniadau a chynigion cymorth – ystafelloedd cyfarfod, cyfryngau cymdeithasol, cyhoeddusrwydd – a dywedodd tua naw o bobl eu bod yn barod i fod yn rhan o drafodaethau i ffurfio grŵp gweithredu. Da iawn!

 

Byddwn yn anerch cyfarfod y Cyngor Tref ym mis Hydref a gobeithiwn gael eu cefnogaeth ffurfiol. Y cam nesaf yw dod â’r bobl yn ôl at ei gilydd, penderfynu beth yw’r blaenoriaethau ar gyfer y Rhyl Dementia Ymwybodol a nodi pwy all wneud beth.

 

Diolch yn fawr iawn i bawb a gyfrannodd at ein hastudiaeth fanwl yn y Rhyl a’n gwaith casglu gwybodaeth!

 

Ymunwch â ni ar gyfer cyfarfod nesaf Rhwydwaith Dementia Ymwybodol Sir Ddinbych ar ddydd Gwener 27 Medi rhwng 11.00 am a 13.00pm yng Nghlwb Rygbi'r Rhyl.

 

Byddwn yn rhannu syniadau ynghylch sut i ddod yn sir gynhwysol sy’n ymwybodol o ddementia a byddwn yn cyflwyno adroddiad llawn ein harolwg mapio cymunedol, wedi’i gydgynhyrchu gyda Life Story Network.

Bydd derbynwyr rhaglen grantiau CGGSDd yn arddangos eu prosiectau a byddwn hefyd yn clywed gan ein Grwpiau Gweithredu Dementia Ymwybodol.

 

Cofrestrwch ar Eventbrite: bit.ly/DementiaAwareCommunityLedNetwork

 

Neu ffoniwch ni ar 01824 702 441.

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