A Dementia Friendly City? There's still a lot more that we can do

July 28 2016

Tony Hall, whose wife Barbara has Dementia, started the organisation as a result of a public meeting three years ago, questioning, “Is Bristol a Dementia Friendly City?” The conclusions were that, although there was a lot of support and help for people living with Dementia and their carers, more could be done.

Bristol Dementia Action Alliance (BDAA) held a ‘Coming of Age’ event on July 8 to celebrate three years of operation and their recent registration as a charitable incorporated organisation.

The event was held at Westbury Baptist Church in Reedley Road, with information from people and agencies with whom the group have made links, telling the story of the BDAA so far and their plans for the future. 

tony hall

Tony Hall, whose wife Barbara has Dementia, started the organisation as a result of a public meeting three years ago, questioning, “Is Bristol a Dementia Friendly City?” The conclusions were that, although there was a lot of support and help for people living with Dementia and their carers, more could be done. 

Brace, a registered charity based at Southmead Hospital that funds medical research into Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and the Alzheimer’s Society both gave talks about their work. There was plenty of encouraging discussion about finding ways of diagnosing the disease earlier and more accurately, and developing more effective treatments.

Norman McNamara, who has Dementia with Lewy Bodies, gave an inspirational speech about how he and a few of his friends in Torquay began the Purple Angel campaign following an incident in a local supermarket where he was treated very badly. The symbol of hope has been adopted worldwide by people and upholds the principle that people with dementia have an absolute right to enjoy a good quality of life and continued involvement in their local community so far as they are able and willing to do so.

Norman also talked about an innovative range of musical memory joggers that can be used to help a person with dementia have good short-term memory recall, helping them with safety issues around the house and on the phone.

Invited guests experienced two fun activities known to have therapeutic effects - singing for the brain and sitting Zumba. Experienced Zumba teacher, Marie, roused the crowd and put everyone in the mood for a party.

The birthday celebrations continued with a cake and the candles were blown out by Bristol’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Jeff Lovell.