Lancashire libraries will be working with partners to promote Dementia Action Week and the support services available from Monday 20 May to Sunday 26 May.
Activities in Lancashire will promote the use of books to help people living with dementia, their families, friends and the carers who support them. There will be a focus on drop-in information sessions and talks.
Events will also be hosted in libraries before the national week to demonstrate the support that is available.
A performance of ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing,’ written by library assistant, Emma Decent, will take place at two Lancashire libraries on 24 May. Rawtenstall Library, on Queen’s Square, will hold a performance at 10am. A performance will also take place at Nelson Library, on Market Square, at 2pm.
‘I don’t Know what I’m supposed to be doing’ was a phrase said repeatedly by writer Emma’s Mum, an ex-librarian, in the early days of her dementia. The performance reflects a journey through time, mother-daughter love and life re-evaluation.
Many libraries will also work with Lancashire Adult Learning and Age UK offering visitors the opportunity to take part in understanding dementia talks and information sessions. These are specifically designed to give people a better understanding of dementia and Alzheimer’s, including what the conditions actually are and the needs of people who are living with these conditions. They are available to all adults over the age of 19.
Throughout the week, some libraries will have memory boxes available, to help people to recall events, places or people.
Quiet hours will also be offered in certain libraries to provide a more suitable environment. During this hour the noise in the libraries will be reduced. This will include the muting of barcode scanners, no events or activities taking place, and the lighting being dimmed. Library staff will also encourage a calm atmosphere.
Dementia cafes and memory activities will also be offered in some libraries so that those living with dementia and their carers can find out useful information and enjoy some fun activities.
Julie Bell, head of libraries, museums, culture and registrars at Lancashire County Council, said ” Unfortunately there are many people living with dementia in Lancashire, so it is important that we do all we can to raise awareness of the condition and to help those people who are living with it.
“Libraries play a significant role in helping people with dementia to feel part of their community. Importantly, they are welcoming spaces offering free and accessible support.
“The activities we are running in libraries during the week should be a valuable source of advice and information. I know that the performance we are showing is well worth seeing and is a funny, moving, inspiring tale using poetry, theatre and library books.
“Libraries are also providing book-based support for people as we know that this can help. Since we launched the Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia, loans of books in this scheme have increased.
“Our collection ranges from self-help books to powerful personal accounts of how the lives of people have been shaped assisting a loved one with dementia and medical information offering practical advice about the condition.
“People touched by dementia, whether living with it or caring for a loved one, can gain crucial support and encouragement to help live their daily lives from these books.
“This is certainly a very worthwhile initiative for our libraries to support.”
Research suggests that there are currently around 15,500 people living with dementia in Lancashire. This figure is set to rise by as much as 27% by 2026 due to population growth in the older age groups.
Dementia Action Week is supported by the Alzheimer’s Society. The Alzheimer’s Society is a UK charity which provides support and research for those affected by dementia.
To find out about the specific activities and events that are taking place for Dementia Action Week at your local library visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/events
More information about Reading Well Books on Prescription is available at www.lancashire.gov.uk/libraries-and-archives/libraries/reading-for-health
For more information about Dementia Action Week, visit: www.alzheimers.org.uk/DementiaActionWeek
More information about Lancashire libraries is available at www.lancashire.gov.uk/libraries, or by calling 0300 123 6703.
More information about the show ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing’ is available at www.emmadecent.co.uk
You can call in at your local library to find out more and take a look at the resources that are available.
Anyone who lives or works in Lancashire can join a Lancashire library, either online or by visiting in person. Membership is free and there are no age restrictions.