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Deaf Dementia Toolkit

Posted September 27th 2019 by Ruth Noble

On Friday 6 September, Outside the Box were pleased to attend the launch of the Deaf Dementia toolkit. Funded by the Life Changes Trust, Avril Hepner and others from the British Deaf Association Scotland have contributed to this innovative and potentially life-changing toolkit for Deaf people living with dementia, whether themselves or in the role of family carers.

The Toolkit was created with ‘blood, sweat and tears’ and with Deaf people living with dementia having real input from the start. We heard personal stories from Deaf people whose family members had struggled to come to terms with the double challenges of being Deaf and dementia.

Some of these people were Deaf themselves, some of them had looked after a Deaf family member with dementia. What they had in common were feelings of helplessness, isolation, frustration and grief when trying to access support and understanding from professionals and others in the community.

Time and time again we heard ‘this Toolkit would have changed everything for me’ and ‘if only my Dad had had this resource.’ There was a real sense of empowerment, solidarity and ownership which the Toolkit seemed to promise to bring to these people’s lives.

An unexpected by-product of the project had been the new Deaf carer support group which built up among those contributing to the focus group. The emotional reunions and hugs going on in the room were testament to this.

The Toolkit is available to download online by following this link with BSL video clips of the key elements also available. It is recommended for anyone in the community, but especially those who are working with Deaf people who are either caring for family members or themselves living with dementia.

For further info, feedback or comments, contact Avril Hepner, Community Development Manager Scotland: cado.sthscot@bda.org.uk

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