Working with people with dementia lies at the heart of our approach and we're lucky enough to spend time with groups of people who are already getting together to support each other. We use creative activities to encourage conversations around travel, transport and getting out and about. Drawing and chatting beats questionnaires every time.
We sometimes ask people to sketch their favourite ways to travel and invite them to draw a picture or map to describe their journeys. Drawing almost always brings laughter, provokes meaningful conversation and often reveals hidden artistic skills!
These activities can provoke rich conversations about the good and the bad aspects of getting around. We identify local transport options, specific challenges of travelling in the area and of travelling with dementia.
This often leads on to more specific discussions about types of transport or other aspects of getting around. We ask what's good, what could be better and then encourage groups to ask questions.... I wonder why? or Imagine if...?
Sometimes we simply wonder why things happen. Transport can be complex and a little explanation can go a long way. We also imagine how things might be different... which can bring out ideas, from simple tweaks to existing services to ideas for new ways of doing things.
All kinds of ides and discussion points come from this. Why are pedestrian crossings inconsistent in the amount of time they give to cross the road? Sometimes they beep sometimes they don't. Sometimes the 'green men' are located on the opposite side of the road and flash so that you know when you are beginning to run out of time ... Sometimes not. I wonder why the information on a bus stop is so high up? I wonder why the blue disabled badge still has a picture of a wheelchair on it? Imagine if tickets were colour coded... or we didn't need screens between us and the driver ... or we had more time to understand questions.
Sometimes we pass around and discuss existing support such as travel assistance cards or prototypes of ideas that have come from previous workshops.
Most importantly we try to take the time to listen. We aim to work at the speed of inclusion.
We're collecting the insights and ideas that emerge from these conversations and we'll be using them to develop training for transport service providers...