Brecon Dementia Friendly Scheme (Llanfaes School)
Karen Lawrence, Headteacher, explains her own experience of the illness with her nan, and the work the school is doing to support the local community and Trenewydd Residential Home that is just a stone's throw away. Karen explains the impact that Joan Brown, a local Dementia Champion had on the school staff and pupils, and how it has empowered them not only to become dementia friends, but to become young ambassadors at other schools.
The school has raised awareness with pupils, parents, staff and governors to spread the message and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
During the filming, Karen also commented:
"The emotional impact the training had on the adults was overwhelming, for me, I realised the mistakes I had made with my nan during her illness. Raising awareness takes away that fear by developing understanding, realising that the people we knew and loved are still there and can often be reached through their earliest memories.
"We only ask that everyone stops to think about dementia and how it affects everyone. Children have eagerly gone home after a session and told their parents about dementia explaining it using one of the analogies shared with them, so that even parents who haven't attended awareness sessions are involved."
"On visiting the residential home, children would patiently repeat three or four times who they were to the residents, or discuss how lovely a flower is over and over again because they understand dementia and how it affects someone."
"The unplanned but exceptional learning skills that the children are gaining is just inspiring, from year 2-6 there is knowledge and understanding of the disease. The children have already learnt so much from the intergenerational project - communication skills, problem solving, planning, teamwork, gardening skills, citizenship but above all a respect for our wonderful elderly population and all they can offer. Above all, to hear residents who usually say very little talking about gardening with their parents, or their own gardens, or teaching the children how to plant potatoes is priceless.
"Our visits to Trenewydd are filled with laughter, smiles and fun. Staff told us that the residents constantly ask when the children are coming next. There is a positive impact on wellbeing for residents, staff and pupils. On our last visit one of the residents commented that she had learnt so much from the children - I think it is very much vice versa and it is our privilege to be part of it.
"We are not trying to change the world, just to change the world for a few in a positive way."