Passenger Sue Pugh, centre, with bus driver Tony Senysyzn and Southern Vectis’s Susan Cullen.
SOUTHERN Vectis has teamed up with Age UK IW to make travelling by bus easier for people with dementia.
The company has introduced Safe Journey Cards, so people with memory loss can identify themselves to the driver when they hop on the bus.
Drivers, who have been trained by Age UK, then know to keep an eye on them.
The scheme has won praise from passengers, including Sue Pugh, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease five years ago. Until she started using the Safe Journey Card, she avoided bus travel because she found it daunting and worried she would forget her stop.
Sue was full of praise for driver Tony Senyszyn, who helped her on the Number 37 service in Ryde.
"I was reassured when he knew all about the card and we had a little chat. He made sure I knew which bus I was on and said if I had any worries to let him know. When I got off, he waved and tooted and made sure I was on my way. He was brilliant," she said.
"Other people have told me about their experiences and they can’t fault the drivers. I’m quite happy to get on a bus now knowing I’ll be looked after."
Tony said: "Many of my passengers are in their 80s or 90s so I am very aware they need extra help. Any additional training to help us make people feel more comfortable is a great thing."
Southern Vectis introduced the scheme as part of Age UK’s campaign to make the Island more dementia friendly.
The charity’s Emma Lincoln said: "This will have a huge effect on people with dementia and their carers.
"This project is about a shift in cultural attitude. We ask people to Stop, Think, Change, which, in time, will create a dementia-friendly community."
Safe Journey Cards, printed with messages such as "I’m visually impaired" or "please wait for me to sit down in case I fall", are available from Age UK IW and healthcare professionals.
National Dementia Week runs from Sunday to next Saturday, May 24.