According to the Alzheimer Society Southwest Partners, the London, Middlesex, Elgin-St. Thomas and Oxford Counties.
That is why the organization has done research to learn more about how London can be made a dementia-friendly city from its clients, caregivers and community members.
“We started a survey last fall to find out what needs and interests people in our community have, and that sparked some of the things we’re doing right now,” said Susan Oster, Public Education Coordinator for the Dementia Friendly Project Communities for society.
Susan Oster coordinates contact with the London community to help the city become more dementia friendly. (Susan Oster / LinkedIn)
The response resulted in a contact with the community and the London & District Dental Society quickly jumped up. This month, Easter is offering lunch-and-study sessions for the dental community.
The aim is to make dental practices aware of what it can be like for a person with dementia to make an appointment or simply to show up on time.
Misty Golding, manager of Oral Health and Vision Services at Middlesex-London Health Unit, learned this can be a real struggle.
“Sometimes the customer may come in completely upset,” she said. “They couldn’t remember where they were going. You may have been lost. They lost their direction. So sometimes they have a few fights behind them before they even get into your dentist’s chair. ”
In that case, Golding said, it is time to slow down and give the client time to breathe and relax.
London dentist Pennie Thornton said she found the sessions invaluable.
“All of us who work in dentistry know that we are not everyone’s favorite destination,” she said. “For some patients with dementia … everything we can do to make people more comfortable, to make the environment a little quieter, with fewer detours.”
Other tips include asking a patient the best time of day to schedule an appointment, speaking clearly and explaining what is going to happen, and lean back in the dental chair more slowly.
Thornton creates a folder for its employees as a reference for dealing with dementia sufferers.
“Anything we can do continuously to make our patients comfortable and make sure everyone realizes that they are the most important person in the room,” she said. “There are many tips that we will use.”
The project is partially funded with entry fees from the City of London. Oster said she was working with the city’s diversity and inclusion strategy and networking with other companies such as grocery chains to help spread the benefits of being a dementia-friendly city in London.
“People with dementia can give so much back to their community,” she says. “It is important to create more awareness and to sensitize the population to dementia.”