Torfaen Opens A New Chapter With Dementia Friendly Libraries
Torfaen’s libraries are working to become Wales’s first Dementia Friendly library service.
All staff at libraries in Blaenavon, Cwmbran and Pontypool have undergone training to recognise the signs of dementia, and to understand how they can make the library environment more accessible to people living with the condition.
Over the next six months the service will continue working towards a series of goals set by the Alzheimer’s Society to become the first fully Dementia Friendly library service in Wales.
The work of the library staff was recognised at a ceremony this week (Thursday 31 March). Each library was presented with a supply of a new children’s book called The Elephant that Forgot which has been specially written by parents of the Caerphilly Parenting Network to help children understand dementia from a young age. The book is the first book of its kind in Wales and will be available from all libraries in Torfaen.
Christine George, Torfaen’s library and information manager, said: “Our libraries are at the heart of our communities. People of all ages, from all walks of life, come here to take out books, DVDs and music, but also to use the computers, apply for jobs, and attend courses on a whole range of subjects. We are also a hub, and a source of support, for people looking for information on health and well-being.
“We have an aging population and know that some of our customers either live with dementia, or care for someone who does, and we thought it was essential that all of our staff have a good understanding of the condition. Over the next six months we will continue to build upon this progress, and work towards becoming Wales’s first fully Dementia Friendly library service.”
Ian Thomas, Dementia Friendly Communities Coordinator for Alzheimer’s Society in Gwent said:
“We are delighted that the libraries in Torfaen have been recognised as working towards dementia-friendly status.
“Increasing the understanding of library staff and improving the environment in terms of accessibility will have a meaningful impact on the lives of people with dementia who use these services.
“Libraries play a pivotal role in our communities in terms of encouraging social interaction. Our report, ‘Building Dementia Friendly Communities: A priority for everyone’, revealed less than half of people living with dementia feel a part of the community with many people with dementia reporting feeling trapped in their own homes and let down by their communities. This move by Torfaen Council will help to support people with dementia to remain a part of the community in Torfaen.
“We hope that Torfaen’s libraries are the first of many across Wales to take this step towards helping us build a dementia friendly nation.”
The development of a Dementia Friendly library service is part of Torfaen council’s implementation of the Social Services and Well Being Act which comes into force in April.
Torfaen is the third Dementia County in Wales and Greenmeadow Community Farm, Pontypool Museum, Big Pit, as well as many traders and businesses across the borough have become Dementia Friends.
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