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Photo of a train carriage next to Mind The Gap painted on the platform.

Dementia friendly transport

British Transport Police are regularly approached by rail staff who need help when providing assistance to people living with dementia at train stations and when travelling across their rail network.

Recognising the pressing need for change, Fiona Andrews, a British Transport Police Officer in York began an initiative to improve things.

Fiona began by organising dementia awareness training for train station staff so that they could acquire greater understanding of the condition, and possess the skills needed to provide appropriate support to passengers living with dementia. Fiona also felt it was also important for passengers living with dementia to have the confidence to use the rail network, and so arranged a number of short ‘supported train journeys’. These provided an opportunity for people who had become nervous or reluctant to travel because of their condition to try rail travel again in a safe, supported way.

Fiona’s story

My colleagues and I realised that people living with dementia sometimes found it difficult to travel by train or gave it up altogether. With the support of the Alzheimer’s Society UK and Virgin East Coast Trains we organised some local, supported train journeys where we accompanied a group of ‘reluctant travellers’ on a short train journey to the seaside. We provided advice and support throughout the whole journey and even managed to stop off for a fish and chip lunch and ice creams. After taking part in a supported journey, and hearing about the passenger assistance schemes that are available across the rail network, many of the participants said they would be confident to travel again independently.

This initiative demonstrates how small changes can make a big difference.

Share your examples of what small changes have made a big difference to your own travel experiences.

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This article is from the free online course:

Dementia Care: Staying Connected and Living Well

Newcastle University

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