What is Flip The Script Friday?

Flip The Script Friday is an event that takes place on a fortnightly basis where we invite organisations/adults onto our website/social media to answer the questions that young people have for them.

Why is it a thing?

This is an opportunity for young people’s voices to be heard and to have their questions answered. But equally, it’s a chance to destigmatize the discussion of mental health, highlight the great work that organisations are doing and to make reaching out for support from them less intimidating.

This week…

Effro supports individuals and groups of people living with dementia. The aim of the project is to enable those people to be as physically and mentally active as possible as there is lots of research suggesting this can slow the progression of dementia conditions. We seek to change the perception of dementia and demonstrate that people living with dementia are still valued and valuable members of our society. 

Q&A Time

We had so many questions sent in by young people to our Instagram @platfform4yp and here are some of the highlights!

Tell us about your project!

Effro supports individuals and groups of people living with dementia. The aim of the project is to enable those people to be as physically and mentally active as possible as there is lots of research suggesting this can slow the progression of dementia conditions. We seek to change the perception of dementia and demonstrate that people living with dementia are still valued and valuable members of our society. 

We currently support people aged 44 – 102, Our 121 support seeks to identify goals and ambitions for those individuals and in extreme cases this has included learning to rock climb, sailing round part of Britain and taking up a range of other new hobbies/activities. 

Our group work visits a wide range of settings where people live with dementia (e.g. hospitals, nursing homes, community venues etc.) and runs activity sessions grandly underpinned by theories including cognitive stimulation therapy and reminiscence therapy but more importantly focused on having fun. 

We also offer a range of free training in the Effro approach. Effro: changing perceptions of dementia Events | Eventbrite

I could talk about the project forever but don’t want to bore anyone if you are interested in finding our more please visit our website Home – Effro 

What is your job role and what does it involve?

Rob – Project Manager, I am responsible for reporting to and liaising with our commissioners as well as seeking to expand the reach of the project but most importantly my role is to support the case work and training teams in their roles to assist them to maximise the impact their work has with on the dementia community. 

Gareth – Training Officer – We are trying to share as much information as we can out to professional and unpaid Carers, family members and everyone in the community about Dementia. We create interactive sessions so that can people can learn more to reduce the stigma and fear around dementia and cover things like different therapies that can better assist people who are living with dementia. 

Do you encounter come across any children or young people e.g. in the families of the people you work with?

Yes, with our individual support we will also become engaged with family members and unpaid carers. A number of the people we support have their children living at home with them. 

We have run groups in a number of extra care facilities that have schools next door. We have liaised with those schools and had a number of young people join us to assist with running the groups or to participate in the activities, which has certainly added energy and enthusiasm to those groups. 

Why did you choose to go into this profession?

Rob – I developed an academic interest in dementia around 10 years ago following an experience with my partners family member. At the time I was working for Platfform in another area so this led to years of research/reading and then around 6 years ago I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to develop a new dementia project for Platfform. I have a particular interest in Younger Onset Dementia which is an area of dementia that gains little attention. 

Gareth – I have always been involved in Learning and development, but my family has been affected by dementia and it’s still something that many people know so little about. There’s so much more we can do for our loved ones with a bit of extra know how. 

August was MedicAlert awareness month – what is MedicAlert and who is it for?

MedicAlert are a charity which provide medical IDs contained within a range of jewellery. These enable health professionals to access an individual’s medical history/diagnosis etc in an emergency and/or if the individual is unable to communicate with them and assist with providing timely and appropriate medical interventions.  

This can be particularly helpful for someone living with dementia as their ability to communicate may be impacted particularly when facing other medical challenges. 

Do you know or work with any people who have a MedicAlert bracelet or similar?

Several people we support use MA and find it very helpful. It has quite a wide take up in the dementia community particularly for people in the later stage of dementia. 

There are many other aids that people with dementia use such as falls sensors/gas detectors/GPS trackers these can be really beneficial although some people can feel patronised by the use of these aids and that it takes away their independence. 

Does dementia happen to all or most people when they grow older?

No dementia is an umbrella term for a range of over 200 conditions that can affect people of all ages. Dementia illnesses are a disease (with a range of causes) and not a natural part of the ageing process, although the risk of having dementia does increase as you get older. 

Although our brains/memory may get a little tired as we get older and this can impact our memory a little this is not dementia. 

What is the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

Dementia is a (not very nice) umbrella term to describe a range of conditions affecting the brain. Alzheimer’s is one of the most common types of dementia, it can often affect your memory which is why people often associate memory loss with dementia, but there are many different types – some which might not affect your memory at all. 

What would you tell a young person who has a family member with dementia?

Your family member is still you the same person who loves you and cares about you. They may change in their outward behaviour over time but this doesn’t change how they feel about you. 

Contact effro@platfform.org for our positive guide to a dementia diagnosis for lots of useful hints and tips for you and your family member. (please specify if you would like an electronic or printed copy and in English or Cymraeg). 

Digital/physical memory books can be a lovely project to work on with your family member. 

Become a dementia friend it only takes an hour and will really help you to understand dementia (can be booked through our Eventbrite). 

Doing the work, you do must be exhausting, how do you stay motivated?

We get to meet so many amazing people who have done so much and have so much to share which makes it a real privilege to do this work. 

There is a real sense of satisfaction in achieving goals with someone that they thought were out of reach and seeing their families become braver and more confident in what they feel their loved one can do.  

Gareth – there are many things that I know now that I wish I knew before, things that could have helped and so it’s really motivating to pass on those pieces of information to people that need it.  We often get lovely feedback about how we’ve helped people and so it’s always a big boost to keep going. 

What is one thing you would like people to understand better about your work and/or people with dementia?

Gareth – Training is free and our sessions are full of practical advice that will make you feel more confident and better able to help your loved ones or the people you care for. We can provide training for anyone – even if you aren’t directly affected by dementia. 

Dementia is a progressive condition that will sadly get worse over time but that is all the more reason to seize the moment and spend as much time as possible with someone and get through that bucket list with them.