Bicester. Dementia friendly garden city

It just jumps up and gets you.

You don’t expect it.

Everything is going well.

Then, where is it, what is it?

I’ve written about road systems before. In Lincoln last week I got off a bus near the station and headed off with my wheelie case.

One of those that seem to be causing noise distress to some, and bruising others, as they trail across platforms and pavements, up and down stairs.

So, I’ve got to get across the main road(s).

In London someone has had the good sense to add labels like look right or look left, or traffic comes from right, etc.

Not Lincoln. Unless I missed it.

So I’m looking at a wiggle of single lane twists and turns, refugeĀ islands, fenced off with gaps to aim for. I really haven’t a clue where the cars are coming from. Which way to look. And no traffic lights.

There probably are lights somewhere, but I couldn’t see them.

I look everywhere, left, right, behind me, left again, right, and dash across.

And I am early in my dementia journey. How on earth others with more confusion manage I don’t know.

I am guessing that they don’t go out. They stay at home.

Last year a report by Alzheimers Society stated that 70% of people with dementia have stopped doing things they used to do due to a lack of confidence. 68% worry about becoming confused. 60% worry about getting lost.

or squashed.

Well it’s not surprising is it.

We talk about dementia friendly hospital environments, colour schemes, signage. We are beginning to talk about designing dementia friendly features into new builds (what about a dementia friendly Garden City, in parallel to NHSEngland’s call for one to be a new model of health care?) Bicester for dementia!

Let’s make transport systems easier for people with dementia. Do the simple things. Bigger signs. Nicer toilets (like the ones at home). Better lighting, especially on steps. Clear labels, repeated frequently.

Not huge expense. But design it in whenever new work or refurb is done. Find the most difficult places (ask us to show you) and start with these.

Then perhaps less people will stay at home, outside of their communities, away from their friends, their shops.

Engagement and activity in social or community activity is known to be hugely influential in people remaining happy, and retaining skills as their brain disease progresses.

So I turned to the young friend who was visiting me last night, who arrived three hours earlier, and as we ate supper I asked him…

I’m sorry, what’s your name?

I just could not find it.



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