Welcome to Dementia Friendly Kent

Dementia Friendly Kent

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Dementia Diaries

Welcome to the home of the award-winning Dementia Diaries which we hope will contribute towards and inspire a future dementia friendly generation.

Here is a film telling the story of the Dementia Diaries made by our creative partner Matt Snyman.

Making 'The Dementia Diaries'

This all started with Jack’s idea. He said we needed to make a book about dementia like Diary of a Wimpy Kid where the “facts are true and the feelings are real”.

We started this project by talking to young carers at Faces of Kent. No one had really explored dementia from the perspective of the grandchildren before.

Read an article about the background of the project in the Journal of Dementia Care which was also published in the Australian Journal of Dementia Care.

All the young people and families involved are part of an Editorial Board which has met regularly over the past two years. Everyone has been involved in making decisions about every aspect of the book. Raisa suggested that to spread the message further we needed to create a short animation like Dumb Ways to Die which was going round her school at the time. So here’s what we came up with:

Braincell Boogie

We had a fantastic launch of the Dementia Diaries in September 2013; over 80 people attended the Friday evening event, the youngest aged 2 and the youngest at heart in his eighties. We were very pleased to welcome the UK’s Head Admiral Nurse Hilda Hayo from Dementia UK and have welcoming speeches by Kent County Council’s Cabinet Members Mike Hill and Graham Gibbens. The films above premiered in the Stone Hall Theatre Lecture at Kent County Council, accompanied with popcorn and followed by a lively discussion and a ‘Diaries’ cake cut by all the grandchildren involved. Photos from the event are below:

The Diaries continue to get rave reviews locally, nationally and internationally. People are reading the book all around the world from Sittingbourne to the Bahamas. Watch a BBC report about the Diaries here.

Feedback is telling us that the book is providing reassurance and practical support to young people, parents, grandparents and families to enable conversations about dementia that before they were unable to have. Here you can see who is reading Dementia Diaries and their testimonials. If you want to participate in the discussion please follow @DementiaDiaries on Twitter or join the Dementia Diaries community on Facebook.

Every participating family was given 10 copies and every school and library in Kent was given a copy so that everyone can access it for free. We were very pleased that Surrey County Council Dementia Friendly Communities team bulk purchased the Diaries so they are now in every school in Surrey too. The Editorial Board also decided the book should be available to purchase with all proceeds going back into developing a Dementia Friendly Kent – to purchase a copy see left hand side of this page.

The book is being used as a tool by community, care and health professionals to support families through very tough times.  Every Admiral Nurse in the UK has a copy; it is being used to train medical staff at East Kent Health University Trust

In December 2013, following a request from the Launch, Matt and Emma handed the book out at the gates of the G8 Summit on Dementia in London – read our Department of Health blog post here.

In March 2014 the book was nominated for a NHS England Excellence in Participation award and came runner-up to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Jasmine and Jack and their parents attended the Award ceremony at the NHS Innovation Conference in Manchester.

“Being short-listed was such a big step. To see my memories become a book that will help others has been a surreal experience. To know that this resource is valuable to not just the UK but abroad was shown through our trip up to Manchester. After the ceremony we were praised by people for the work that we had done and it has hugely enriched my life to be part of such an important thing today”, Jasmine Carter.

See photos below from the NHS Innovation Conference in Manchester and the Awards ceremony. For details about where the Dementia Diaries and other work in Kent has been shared please look at Inspiring others.

So the book is just the beginning of the story. We are now developing a learning resource pack to accompany the book, learning from the development of Dementia Diaries and also all the intergenerational projects across Kent.