Aylesbury Vale team proud to become Dementia Friends

Aylesbury Vale team proud to become Dementia Friends

by Crematorium Editor Westerleigh News

Aylesbury Vale Crematorium staff have improved their awareness of what it is like to live with dementia by becoming Dementia Friends.

The team including Vivienne Centala, Graeme Ruffett and Lilly Fortune completed an information session to understand what it's like to live with dementia and the actions they could take to support those living with the condition.

Aylesbury Vale Crematorium is part of Westerleigh Group, the UK’s largest owner and operator of crematoria and cemeteries, with 36 sites in England, Scotland, and Wales, all set within beautifully landscaped gardens of remembrance which provide pleasant, peaceful places for people to visit and reflect.

Vivienne Centala, site manager at Aylesbury Vale Crematorium, said: “It is a sad reality that many of the deceased who pass through our chapel have lived with some form of dementia.

”In turn, their loved ones in the congregation have had to adjust their lives to accommodate the careful needs of a person living with the condition.

“Despite how increasingly common dementia is, we felt as a team we did not have enough confidence when interacting with someone living with it.

“A member of our bereaved community revealed her mother, sadly, had been diagnosed with dementia many years ago and in her eyes ‘she had lost the mother she knew years ago’ and had begun her grieving process from there.”

This heartfelt admission is what spurred the team into contacting Community Champion, Maria Butler, who is a representative of the Dementia Friends programme.

Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition.

Vivienne added: “We undertook an information session, where we learnt the most important emphasis was to be patient.

“Overall, we felt moved and humbled by the session, and each one of us agreed to continue to improve ourselves regarding our outlook and behaviours towards dementia.

“We all feel more confident that should a member of the public who has dementia be visiting our crematorium, we would be better equipped to recognise the condition in them and understand how to interact and care for them.”