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Tuesday, 10 November 2015 00:00

Become a Dementia Friend and help save your community

The Dementia Friends programme is the Alzheimer’s Society’s largest initiative ever, aimed at changing people’s perceptions of dementia and ridding communities of harmful stigma’s attached to the disease.

There is widespread fear not only of being afflicted with dementia, but also of interacting with those who are already battling the disease, which is why people instinctively shy away from friends and family who have to deal with it and avoid the subject altogether. Dementia Friends was launched to eliminate the isolation, loneliness and social exclusion that comes as a result of this lack of understanding.

There are currently approximately 900 000 people in the UK with some form of dementia. Becoming a Dementia Friend means helping people understand the disease better, in order to drive out the fear with knowledge. There are also well over one million Dementia Friends across England and Wales, spreading knowledge and understanding about people living with dementia and offering practical and useful ways to help those throughout their communities. This could be to help care for a family member, to volunteer care services or just to be more patient in a queue in order to help people with dementia feel safe and included as community members. The program has been so successful that the Alzheimer’s Society has set a target of enlisting 4 million Dementia Friends by 2020 to help as many communities and businesses as possible to become dementia-friendly.

You can sign up to become a Dementia Friend or even just watch the videos to educate your organisation about ways you can help those within your community. There is also the option to become a Dementia Friends Champion. Champions are trained to run support and information sessions within their own communities. Dementia Friends also work with many different sized across all sectors in order to support them to roll out Dementia Friends throughout their workforce.

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