NHS Healthcare EXPO – the Dementia Village

Enter at your own risk

A large section of the Healthcare EXPO in London last week was devoted to the creation of a ‘Dementia Village.’ That’s right – a Dementia Village. There was a pictorial map of it, a bit like you get when you go to Disney World (but not quite as a exciting) and there was a village green, a bandstand, a cinema, a fire station, a croquet lawn and lots of shops. It did look a bit like Camberwick Green (showing my age here.)

Who needs Butlins?

The idea was, I guess, to showcase initiatives to help people with Dementia, a hot topic in healthcare at the moment. We could all make cheap jokes about having a  look round and then having to go back and do it again five minutes later, but of course we will resist that urge. Exploration of  the Dementia Village revealed the ‘Hoops for Hope’ croquet initiative. Croquet is an obvious first port of call for anyone getting a bit forgetful.
Lots of musical instruments were also in evidence. Music and singing is something which we can respond to even after we’ve forgotten our own name, although I’m not sure how much use the giant xylophone they had on display would be. I think a bit of a sing along to ‘Roll out the Barrel’ would probably suffice. There were lots of ‘reminiscence’ aids which consist of remembering brands or food or smells or ration books from the War. Didn’t everyone wash with Carbolic soap and drink Ovaltine?Everyone remembers WWII even if you weren’t there  apparently. I definitely wasn’t there but I feel like I remember it because I’ve been to Eden Camp, a WWII theme park in North Yorkshire where you can relive the the blitz and buy a small vial of chemicals called ‘acrid smell of a burning street.’

Brandstand – remember Sago?

My favourite thing in the Dementia village though, was the Dementia dog. A black labrador/retriever cross, Sherlock was being trained to give support and comfort to Dementia sufferers. Dogs can help to remind people about daily routines such as when to take medication and help to prevent isolation. Animals can be hugely beneficial to our mental health. I know the ‘Pets As Therapy’ dog who visited my Dad’s old people’s home (they call him Pat the Dog) is much loved and had his picture on proud display as if he were visiting royalty.

The Future is a plastic igloo

Super Sherlock

The Innovations EXPO was drawing to a close. Did anyone actually glimpse the future in the Future Zone or  come up with an amazing new idea in the Innovator’s Den?
In the words of Francis Urquhart from House of Cards  – ‘You might think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment.’

Where is everyone?