Bid to make town more friendly to dementia sufferers

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Businesses in Larne are being invited to become involved in an initiative to create a dementia friendly community in the town.

Service providers are being urged to support the scheme being promoted by the Alzheimer’s Society charity and backed by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

Thirty businesses were represented at an initial training session held at Larne Town Hall last week. Representatives were given information on communicating with dementia sufferers.

The Alzheimer’s Society has welcomed interest in the scheme locally.

A spokesperson said: “Thirty businesses have said they want to better support their customers and want them to keep using their businesses.

“It is all about increasing understanding and awareness and how to communicate better.

“A Dementia Friendly Community is a visible way of saying I understand and I am here to help.

“It can be about simple changes such as giving people more time, give them more time to explain what they want, what they are looking for or helping them to find something.”

Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna is the council’s representative on the Dementia Friendly Community steering group.

She said: “It is about training staff and making them more aware if they have customers who suffer from dementia.

“Sixty people from 30 businesses attended last week’s workshop.

“I just think it is amazing to do something like this. The number of people with dementia is increasing all the time.”

Welcoming the scheme, Louise Magill, founder of the Prom Friendship Group, for dementia sufferers and carers, said: “Hopefully, we will become a dementia friendly community and more people will become involved.

“If people have training, they can spot the signs. It just takes a bit more patience.”

Hairdresser Una Gorman added: “The workshop was very interesting.It is good to have this information.”