Plymouth hosts Japanese dementia delegation

A delegation from Japan is visiting Plymouth on Thursday 12 December to see the city’s pioneering work in dementia care.

The Japanese delegates will be treated to a tour of the city and shown the fantastic services and activities provided to people with dementia.

Plymouth is recognised as leading the way nationally with its work to improve the lives of people with dementia and their families and carers. Plymouth is set to become one of the first ‘dementia friendly’ cities in the UK and already boasts the country’s first dementia friendly university in the UK. Plymouth City Council, Plymouth University and the NHS are leading a number of projects to raise awareness and understanding of dementia.

Ian Sheriff, Academic Partnerships Lead for Dementia at Plymouth University and one of the Prime Minister’s National Dementia Champions, said: “It is fast becoming the case that when people think of advances in dementia research and care, they think of Plymouth. The University is pioneering innovative new techniques and treatments and, in partnership with the wider city, is working to lead the national agenda on ways to tackle this devastating condition. Dementia has finally been recognised as the crisis it is, and Plymouth is setting the standard for others across the world to follow.”

Councillor Sue McDonald, Cabinet member for Public Health and Adult Social Care said: “I’m delighted to welcome the Japanese delegation to Plymouth. Our Dementia Friendly Cities work is considered nationally to be exemplary. With the Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance and our partners, Plymouth City Council is working to not only provide better support but also to improve the awareness and understanding of the condition.”

Building links between the generations is the focus of dementia work at Stoke Damerel Community College, where dementia education is becoming embedded in the curriculum. The Japanese delegation will visit the college where they will be treated to a game of croquet - which students regularly play with older people from the local community. This will be followed by presentations by pupils about their work on the dementia project.

Darren Towers, Dementia Project lead said: “As a Dementia Pioneer School we have been recognised in a report to the Prime Minister for our unique curriculum-wide approach to dementia education. We are excited to be able to see our practice spread to an international level with the visit from the Japanese delegation. 

“Our students and staff are looking forward to sharing their learning and experiences with the visitors and are keen to demonstrate why they believe it is so important to educate everyone about the condition as well as showing how dementia education can help to deliver so many skills across the curriculum.”

The tour will also include a visit to a ‘Singing for the Brain’ session run by the Alzheimer’s Society, a memory café and St Barnabus, an extra care housing scheme managed by care and support provider Aster Living which contains a specialist unit for people with dementia.

Teresa Parsons, Alzheimer’s Society Services Manager for Plymouth said: “Even when many memories are hard to retrieve, music can sometimes still be recalled - if only for a short while. Singing for the Brain helps people with dementia communicate, improving their mood and leaving them feeling good about themselves. We are really pleased that the delegates from Japan will be able to attend this session to see the service first hand, and to meet the group.”