• Simple things mean a lot 13 November 2017 | View comments

  • 13th November 2017 | By David Jolley

    I have enjoyed the 12th Dementia Congress organised by the Journal of Dementia Care at Doncaster Racecourse. There were over 800 delegates: people with dementia, family carers and professionals of many sorts. The programme was full and varied – from the Tuesday debate, via breakfast sessions, plenaries, parallel sessions and extras. There were people to meet and much to be learned.

    The whole thing worked so well because of the excellent signage. This had been advised by a group of people with dementia from DEEP http://dementiavoices.org.uk/.They had given time and expertise to attend the racecourse some weeks ahead of the event. We could see where rooms were situated, there was clarity about ways in and ways out. AND there were stewards at every level and at every corner, and at the tops and bottoms of escalators. They were attractively dressed and actively sought to help anyone who looked even mildly unsure or bewildered. Magic – a model for any service and proof if ever it were needed that what works for people with dementia, works well for everyone else. Let’s encourage this everywhere.

    In similar vein the support for speakers by the IT technicians was exemplary. There was someone around at all times, they knew what they were doing and simply picked up the pieces and made things work when fumbling anxieties threatened to wreck the day.

    Outdoors we could watch the staff who cut the grass of the racecourse – A huge and strikingly impressive swathe which is mown in patterns to be sure of its readiness for the next time the horses will come.

    Reminders that preparation and attention to the basics will make the best of clever and creative programmes.

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