Riding the bus to the past

Staff and residents at the Dairy Lane Care Centre
Staff and residents at the Dairy Lane Care Centre
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RESIDENTS suffering from debilitating dementia have been given a reminder of days gone by.

A bus stop has been installed in the garden area of Dairy Lane Care Centre, in time for Dementia Awareness Week, which begins today.

Bosses at the Houghton home say many residents living there who have dementia often ask to get the bus, as it reminds them of their past.

Activities co-ordinator at the home, Jackie Toolin, said: “A lot of our residents will say when they are going out ‘I’ve got to get the bus’.

“They always remember getting on buses fondly and that’s why we’ve installed the bus stop in the garden.

“If the weather’s okay they like to go out and sit next to it”

Other activities to mark the week will include decorating the garden area.

Jackie added: “The residents all like vibrant colours, but they need routine, which is what the bus stop will do.

“The colours will help to brighten spirits as well.”

Dementia is believed to affect almost 3,500 people in Sunderland, with many of those still to be properly diagnosed.

That figure is expected rise past the 4,000 mark by 2020. Symptoms include becoming forgetful, having difficulty completing simple tasks or experiencing mood swings.

The theme of this year’s Dementia Awareness Week is “opening up”.

Alzheimer’s Society chiefs want anyone who is concerned about the illness to stop bottling it up and to be able to talk to them.

Earlier this year, big-name businesses on Wearside, including Homebase, Argos and branches of Lloyds Banking Group and Marks & Spencer, agreed to become “dementia friends”, in which they agreed to make it easier for customers who have the disease to access their services.

A dementia roadshow begins today, with volunteers at Asda in Grangetown.

The roadshow will be at Morrisons, in Seaburn, and Asda in Washington tomorrow, Sunderland Royal Hospital on Thursday and the Co-op in Houghton, on Friday.

For more information about dementia and activities throughout the week, go to www.alzheimers.org.uk.