By Siobhan McDermott

February 24th, 2015

DSDC and SSE launch book on how heating and lighting can help people living with dementia

Energy company SSE has teamed up with dementia experts at Stirling University in a ground-breaking partnership to launch a new book to help those living with the condition.

The Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC), a world leader in its field, is today [Mon 23 Feb] launching a new book in partnership with SSE – which offers heating and lighting tips to people living with dementia and their carers.

Dementia in the UK is on the increase with around 850,000 people likely to be affected by it this year*, according to The Alzheimer’s Society. Symptoms can include memory loss, difficulties with tasks and finding the right words.

The book, entitled, 10 Helpful hints on heating and lighting for people with dementia and their carers, is designed to provide help and advice on managing heating and lighting efficiently and show how both can make a positive impact for people with dementia living in their own home.

The book is part of a wider programme of support that SSE now provides – including the roll-out of a new dementia awareness training programme for customer facing staff, backed up by a guide.

Tony Keeling, SSE’s Director of Customer Services and Sales, said: “The increasing number of people living with dementia is a real concern for all of us. Service providers like SSE need to think hard about how they can make life easier for people with dementia.

“Our role is to provide energy to heat and light peoples’ homes and this new book will offer real insight into some of the small changes that can make a big difference. SSE also provides dementia awareness training for our staff to ensure they have the skills to help customers with dementia. We have a responsibility to adapt our service to help customers benefit from extra support.”

Professor June Andrews, Director of the DSDC, said: “Research tells us that heat and light is very important for people with dementia and can help them live longer and safer at home, which is the overall aim.

“This book will explain the effect dementia has on people’s lives and those who care for them, and offer tips on small changes that can have a positive and lasting impact.

“SSE is breaking new ground here, and it is not only good for customers but will help their own staff whose families are affected by dementia. It shows businesses can really help the community.”

The book includes useful sections including an explanation of the benefits of bright lighting, which can help people with dementia move about safely, maintain hobbies and see to eat properly.

It also highlights the importance of managing the temperature in the home correctly and the detrimental effects of both a cold environment how conversely excessive heat can cause dehydration, confusion and lethargy.

SSE staff members have also completed a training day with DSDC to enhance their awareness of the condition, its signs and symptoms. The training also encourages employees to think about ways to enhance SSE’s working practices in this area.

SSE supplies energy to homes and businesses across the GB and Ireland with staff dedicated to delivering high standards of customer service. The support SSE currently offers for vulnerable customers includes financial assistance through its Priority Services Team and its Careline Service, which offers extra help from Braille bills to specialist devices and adaptors.

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