Our ambition is for Brighton & Hove to be an age and dementia friendly city. We want to support older people, people living with dementia and their carers to live well and enable them to continue doing the everyday things that we all take for granted, such as shopping or going out to a cafe.
Accessible for all
To help achieve this ambition the council is supporting East Brighton Café, in East Brighton Park, to become an age and dementia friendly cafe. It will be the first café in the city to be newly recognised by the council as having a suitable and accessible environment for older people and people living with dementia.
The café has long been a favourite for locals and particularly for people living with dementia and their loved ones. It now has new specially designed signage alongside other dementia friendly adaptations which will also benefit all customers. More adaptations, such as new chairs with armrests in the quiet room, will be completed in the coming months.
Café owner Marilyn Chelliah, said: “I’m touched and honoured to be recognised as an age and dementia friendly café. The café is already well used by the local community, including by people living with dementia and the people who support them because we welcome them with a separate quiet area away from the noise of the coffee machine and the till.
“The cafe is more a way of life than a business for me because I value our older customers so much. Also, their welfare is now close to my heart because my dad, who lives in South Africa, has been diagnosed with suspected early on-set dementia. This news came as a shock and not long after my mum died. They were married for 46 years.
“My ambition has always been for the café to be a hub for the community and recently it’s already become an informal contact centre for residents to meet, so this new age and dementia friendly status is the icing on the cake for us all.’’
Dementia friendly audit
Fran Hamilton, Dementia Specialist Occupational Therapist audited the café for the council with two members from the Switchboard LGBTQ dementia peer support group. They determined what changes needed to be made to make the café more dementia friendly.
Fran said: “I'm so pleased to see that the recommendations made are being put into place, including signs to aid wayfinding, chairs with arms to increase ease of getting up, and offering a comfortable, quieter area for those who need it. Changes which support people with dementia will also benefit other people using this lovely cafe.
“People living with dementia can experience many issues which may impact their day to day lives. Memory, concentration, perception and mobility may all be affected. Simple changes can make public spaces more accessible for people living with dementia. Remaining engaged with the local community makes a huge difference to people’s wellbeing, reducing isolation and enabling independence.’’
Another business supporting the Dementia Action Week is Brighton & Hove Buses and Metrobus. Ed Wills, company Managing Director, said: "We are pleased to support the council in their mission to make Brighton & Hove an age and dementia friendly city.
“We make travel by bus as accessible as possible. That's why we have invested in dementia friendly floors, next stop audio-visual announcements and trained our drivers to be dementia friends. By working with the Alzheimer's Society, we have learned how important this is.’’
East Brighton Café and Brighton & Hove Buses, alongside many other local businesses and organisations, are supporting our ambition for Brighton & Hove to be a place for people to age well by helping us to support people in our community.
Ageing well business toolkit
Later this year we will launch our age and dementia friendly business toolkit which is designed to support local businesses to make simple changes to become more accessible. Making things more accessible will make life easier for everyone, not just people with dementia.
Dementia Action Week
Dementia Action Week 2022 from Monday 16 to Sunday 22 May, focuses on the importance of getting a diagnosis and includes a series of dementia friendly community sessions. These are bookable, or drop-in and sometimes free, to which anyone affected by dementia is invited. The programme of events and how to attend is on our website.
Sources of dementia support
Further sources of help are available through the council’s website and the following orgnisations:
- Ageing Well Brighton & Hove.
- The Alzheimer’s Society has details of support and the charity offers support through Twitter (@alzheimerssoc #dementiaawareness)
- Many more sources of advice and support are on the NHS website
- Books on living with dementia are also available from your local library.