850,000 people in the UK are currently suffering from Dementia. This staggering figure is predicted to increase to a worrying 1,000,000 by 2025.
Due to the various strains of Dementia, for example, Alzheimer’s Disease, Vascular and Dementia with Lewy Bodies, it can be extremely difficult to grasp the complexities of this disease.
From the outside looking in, it’s not always easy to identify someone who has Dementia, especially in the beginning stages.
It’s easily overlooked as the person may not appear to be struggling from the outside but there may still be varying degrees of confusion, disorientation and mental frailty at play. This will, of course, be dependant on the stage of the disease and the unique characteristics of the person.
Who Are Dementia Friends?
Dementia Friends is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative, created as a way to share, educate and to help lessen the stigma surrounding Dementia in modern society.
The aim is to turn understanding into a tangible, positive action within the local community. Anyone can become a Dementia Friend and it’s actively encouraged.
This can be done by visiting the Dementia Friends website and registering your interest.
What’s the Difference between a friend and a champion?
A Dementia Champion is a volunteer who encourages people within their local community to become Dementia Friends. They’re trained and are able to hold information sessions, equipped with literature and various other training tools, they pass on key messages to attendees.
Our Dementia Champion, Tanya, who works for Tynetec kindly made the journey to our office for the day and delivered a really engaging, thought-provoking session.
Upon asking Tanya why she chose to become a Dementia Champion, she responded,
“The main reason I wanted to become a Dementia Champion was not only to help people understand what it is like to live with dementia but to spread the message that a person with Dementia can live well and in our line of work, we have a fantastic opportunity to promote this.”
To become a champion, you don’t need a particular set of skills, just a passion for the cause and a desire to share that passion with others.
Why We Became Dementia Friends
As a careline alarm company, we understand the impact our words and processes can have on our customers. Many of our service users have Dementia at varying degrees, so we chose to make a commitment to users to change the way we think and create a positive experience for both user and families.
As well as understanding our customer base, we want to ensure that family members and carers of loved ones with Dementia also feel supported and heard. Small tweaks that we implicate based on the Dementia Friends training can really have a profound difference to new and existing customers going forward.
What We Took Away From Our Dementia Friends Training
As is the nature of our office, we wanted to create an upbeat and positive atmosphere ahead of our Dementia Friends training. No training session is complete without a selection of cakes, so our resident baker Erika whipped up a batch of frosted cupcakes embellished with the Dementia Friends logo.
“The Dementia Friends training gave me a real insight into how important it is that we as a team treat every client with Dementia with care, patience and consideration. It also helped me to appreciate that what we do as a company can greatly benefit other family members too.” – Stewart Smith (Director)
Our standard of customer service is of great importance to us, especially when we’re dealing with those who may have dementia.
Emma, our Customer Services manager discusses the Dementia Friends training, saying,
“It gave me a new perspective of how to deal with not only the family but also the individual. As the team, they have expressed a growing interest in this sector and we are always looking to further our training, which may include taking part in charity events to raise awareness.”
“It was great to further my understanding of something I didn’t necessarily know a lot about, especially in an environment where I regularly interact with people who have/have loved ones with it.” – Gemma, Customer Service Advisor
If your organisation is interested in becoming dementia friendly, you can visit the website to find out more: