Could you become a Dementia Friend?

As an organisation that works primarily with older clients from the local community, Home Instead has a natural affinity with the Alzheimer’s Society, in particular their Dementia Friends initiative.   

We offer Dementia Friends sessions to all new starters within the organisation as well as working with the wider community to increase awareness of dementia.

The aim of Dementia Friends is to tackle the stigma and lack of understanding that surround the condition and make local communities a safe-space for those living with dementia.

It is thought that there are around 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, and this number is expected to rise to over 1 million in the next 5 years.  

With so many people living with dementia, it is imperative that as a community we do all we can to help them support them and to help them live well.

How can Dementia Friends help?

We’ve all heard the term dementia, but how much do you understand about the condition?  

Many people associate dementia with memory loss, but in fact, that is just one of many different symptoms.    With a lack of knowledge or understanding of dementia, this can often lead to those living with it to feel lonely and excluded from society. This could change if more people were to become Dementia Friends by attending an information session.   A greater awareness and understanding could open up many more opportunities for those living with dementia to feel respected and included.

What is included in a Dementia Friends session?

Our information sessions, run by our in-house Dementia Champion, are there to offer an insight into the lives of those who living with a dementia.  You’ll learn key messages about dementia and how just a few small changes could have a huge impact on someone’s life.  

The sessions, currently run virtually via Zoom, are approximately 45 mins and are completely free of charge.  You don’t have to know someone with dementia to become a Dementia Friend – anyone and everyone can take part in the session.

Heather Collin, Home Instead Wrexham & Flintshire’s Dementia Champion explains: “Imagine you’re in a supermarket queue, in a rush to get home, but the shopper in front of you is taking a long time, and getting confused by what the cashier is saying to them?  How would you react?  Tutting loudly, muttering under your breath or drumming your fingers impatiently are all passive-aggressive actions, but it is also fairly common human behaviour in this situation. If you were aware that this person was, or could be, living with dementia, would you act any differently?  

Attending an information session covers the importance of giving people time and patience, letting them understand things at their own pace and looks at other changes we can make to support those living with dementia and make them feel included as part of the community.  A person with dementia is still a person, we shouldn’t let the illness define how we treat them. Becoming a Dementia Friend is a great first step to take in changing the way we look at dementia in our society.”

If you’re interested in becoming a Dementia Friend, then please contact Heather on [email protected] or follow us on Facebook to find out about upcoming information sessions.