"It is important that we understand if our clients instructions are in any way affected by dementia or if they need to be approached in a certain way to obtain those instructions properly."
Anthony Wooding, managing partner at Kerseys
A FIRM of solicitors has joined a campaign to help Ipswich become a dementia friendly community.
The Ipswich Dementia Action Alliance (IDAA) has been set up to support people living with Dementia.
And a team from Kerseys Solicitors took part in an IDAA 'Become a Dementia Friend' training session to understand more about the condition - and how to communicate more effectively with people who have it.
Kerseys managing partner Anthony Wooding said: “The team at Kerseys are keen to work towards being a dementia friendly business.
“During the training we learned a lot, in particular about the ‘myths’ of dementia. Dementia is not a natural part of aging - it’s caused by a disease of the brain. It’s not just about losing your memory; it can affect thinking and communicating everyday tasks.
“On the other hand, it is possible to live well with dementia. Some memories, especially older ones, remain intact and emotional states of happiness often remain as strong as ever. There’s more to a person than the dementia they are living with.”
The IDAA is chaired by Nicola Bradford of LimeSkills, and is supported by a number of businesses and organisations in the town, including the Mayor of Ipswich, Roger Fern.
Nicola said: “The team at Kerseys were a great group to work with, who reflected on both their personal experiences with family members as well as their professional contacts with older people.
“The organisation showed a real commitment to understanding customers’ needs as attendees included reception staff, legal professionals and the managing partner."
Anthony added: “We are a business serving the public on a very personal level - dealing with people’s private affairs. We sometimes handle work of a difficult and emotional nature.
“It is important that we understand if our clients’ instructions are in any way affected by dementia or if they need to be approached in a certain way to obtain those instructions properly.
“We have a department specialising in powers of attorney and Court of Protection work. For this reason, are lawyers are already very sensitive to dementia as they come across it quite often. But there are still things to learn.”
Ipswich Town & Waterfront is also part of the IDAA and is promoting the local 'Become a Dementia Friend' training sessions.
Mr Fern said: People living with dementia still have much to contribute to the community - we really must enable them to do this.”
The one hour Dementia Friends session are delivered by volunteer ‘Dementia Champions’ to any staff groups, or individuals can choose to attend public sessions.
The IDAA will support organisations to then develop an action plan to make their business 'Dementia Friendly' which when progressed will be recognised by the use of a national logo.