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Govt signals standard, friendly approach to dementia

The Gibraltar Government has announced a programme that aims to provide a friendlier environment for people with dementia in all of its Elderly Residential Services sites.

It hopes to achieve this by using standardisation, which includes the use of colour coding and signage such as placing illustrated directional signs at eye level and painting doors a different colour.

The aim is to give people with dementia a feeling of familiarity and personal value.

The Ministry for Health, Care and Justice and the Elderly Residential Services and the Gibraltar Alzheimer’s and Dementia Society (GADS) are working together to bring into fruition the programme of adaptations, improvements and developments to ensure that those living with dementia, along with their families and carers, are supported and able to function as part of the community.

The Gibraltar Alzheimer’s & Dementia Society welcomed the minister who is responsible for the programme, Neil Costa’s, commitment to “standardising dementia-friendly environments”.

“This will have a positive impact and improve the wellbeing of people living with dementia in our community. Whether a person is living at home, in hospital, or in residential care, everyone is entitled to the right care, at the right place, at the right time; simple dementia-friendly adaptations to the environment will ensure that people with dementia can have dignified care and the best possible quality of life,” said Daphne Alcantara, GADS Chairperson.

“Also, when a person living with dementia can no longer live at home, their families should have the peace of mind that their loved ones are in the best facilities and not have to worry whether they go to one residential home or another,” she added.

According to the Elderly Residential Services Manager, Susan Vallejo, in the past years great strides have been taken to better understand Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

“Adaptations such as those in which we are embarking, should have a very positive effect on the daily lives of our service users living with dementia and will help to improve their orientation,” she said.

Mr Costa spoke of his and his ministry’s “great pleasure and satisfaction” to see the introduction of programmes like the “standardising dementia-friendly environments”.

“As we can see, first hand, the positive impact they have on the lives of our loved ones.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of dementia and to continue to educate the community in how best we can help those living with this illness”, said Mr Costa.

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