HMP Shotts in Lanarkshire is set to be one of the first prison services in Scotland to become dementia friendly by the end of the year.
Alzheimer Scotland has been working with staff and prisoners at HMP Shotts to stage Dementia Friends workshops and information sessions with staff to help raise awareness of dementia, to support the ageing prison population and inform staff of the illness which is set to double in a generation.
Scott Cringles, skills and employability unit manager at Shotts, said: “HMP Shotts is really proud to be the first prison in Scotland to link in with Alzheimer Scotland for both staff and prisoner dementia awareness sessions.
“With both an aging prisoner and staff population this partnership with Alzheimer Scotland has really given us something to focus on and we intend to build stronger links and awareness sessions for staff and prisoners going forward.”
“The sessions we have already delivered in partnership has seen some staff and prisoners look for more information as clearly Dementia can affect any one.”
He added: “If we can give staff some information, which will have the added benefit of recognising signs and symptoms, not only in work but also in home life, then there is a clear benefit to all.
“We look forward to developing this partnership including expanding the project to include prison visitors and a visit from the Alzheimer Scotland Memory Bus.”
Lorna Hart, dementia advisor with Alzheimer Scotland, said: “We are continually working with the HMP Shotts to help raise awareness of dementia due to the increasing ageing population of the prisoners and its workforce.
“Dementia friendly information sessions aim to help increase much needed awareness of dementia, support people living with dementia to live well with the illness and also sets out to tackle stigma and improve inclusion.
“During our discussions with staff, we have looked at ways to create dementia friendly environments including the workplace itself and the layout of the cells.
“We hope that this partnership will have a positive impact for the prison and for the staff. By increasing understanding of dementia they can also inform their own family and friends which in turn provides more knowledge to the wider community.
“We look forward to working further with HMP Shotts helping them towards their ambition to becoming a dementia friendly prison.”
Dementia is the biggest health and social care challenge faced by society today.
There are over 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland and around 3,200 are under the age of 65. By the year 2020 there will be more than one million people living with dementia in the UK.