A housing association based in Bathgate is going the extra mile to help vulnerable customers by becoming a ‘dementia-friendly’ organisation.
Staff at West Lothian Housing Partnership (WLHP) have been working closely with Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Friendly Communities team in Bathgate to learn what they can do to help customers with dementia.
It is the first part of Wheatley Group – Scotland’s leading housing and care organisation – to achieve dementia-friendly status.
Area Housing Manager, Alan Glasgow, said: “I am proud of the team for achieving this accreditation. It means we can support our customers with dementia living independently in their own communities for as long as possible.”
WLHP’s housing and environmental teams are now trained to identify the early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s and provide the appropriate support. They have pledged to treat customers with dementia with patience, dignity and respect.
The team has also made changes to its office to make it more welcoming for visitors with the condition.
Alan added: “We’ve improved signage and painted door frames to make it easier for people with dementia to identify where the doors and toilets are. But, more importantly, we appreciate how to communicate with customers who might be struggling to make themselves understood.”
WLHP’s office joins a number of businesses and organisations working to make Bathgate in West Lothian a dementia friendly community.
Alzheimer Scotland describes a dementia friendly community as one where people with dementia are understood, respected and supported and can find their way around and feel safe.
Natasha MacKinnon, Corporate Fundraiser at Alzheimer Scotland, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that WLHP is the first of Wheatley Group’s housing associations to become dementia-friendly in support of people across the west of Scotland.
“The Dementia-Friendly Communities initiative aims to make everyday life better for people with the condition; and to change the way the nation thinks, talks and acts when it comes dementia.
“Our partnership with WLHP and Wheatley Group has offered frontline staff a better understanding of dementia, and advice on how to meet the needs of those people who are living with the condition. With over 90,000 people living with dementia and the number on the rise, Alzheimer Scotland is passionate that nobody should face dementia alone.”