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DARLINGTON is set to become more dementia friendly as a range of events take place in the town to recognise Dementia Action Week, which runs from 21-27 May.

Organised by Dementia Friendly Darlington, a partnership of public, private and charity organisations, events include an information stand in the Cornmill Shopping Centre on Monday 21 May from 11am-3pm and in the Dolphin Centre on Thursday 24 May from 10am-4pm.

Dementia Friends Training sessions will take place on Tuesday 22 (1-2pm) and Thursday 24 (10-11am) in South Meeting Room at Lingfield House. The sessions are open to anyone, but spaces are limited. To book a place on either session call 01325 467833.

One of the highlights of the week will be a tea dance in Central Hall on Thursday 24 May from 2-4pm, organised by Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington, which is an open invitation to anyone with dementia and their carers.

The week will end on a high note with Singing for the Brain on Friday 25 May from 1.30-3pm at Darlington Baptist Church, on Grange Road.

The week will celebrate and recognise how organisations from the public, private and charity sectors are working together with the aim of making Darlington and surrounding areas dementia friendly. A dementia friendly community is a city, town, village or community where people living with dementia are understood, respected and supported.

Dementia Friendly communities are vital in helping people live well with dementia and remain part of their community. To become Dementia Friendly, organisations or businesses can do things such as provide Dementia Friends training for staff, or make simple changes to the physical environment.

The popular Quiet Hour Shopping, which takes place in venues across Darlington town centre each Sunday morning, continues to attract shoppers looking for a more peaceful environment. A number of retailers in the town have provided dementia training to their staff and are helping to ensure that Darlington is on the road to becoming a Dementia Friendly town.

Kathryn Hardwick, from Alzheimers Society, said: “Dementia affects everyone in their own individual way and carrying out normal day to day activities such as shopping can pose many challenges for people living with dementia. Whether it is navigating around the store, busy crowds or too much noise, it can be overwhelming and confusing for someone with dementia.

“As a community, we should strive to empower and enable people living with dementia to carry on doing the things they have always enjoyed such as going shopping. We can do this by offering a calm, relaxed atmosphere through a Quiet Hour at our local shops during Dementia Action Week. It’s time to unite and take action on dementia.”

More information is available at www.alzheimers.org.uk or from the Dementia Friendly Darlington group dfcdarlington@gmail.com. More information about the Tea Dance is available from Kathryn Hardwick, Alzheimer’s Society on 0191 389 0400 or 07734 785428.

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