My write-up for Dementia Friends

Why Dementia Friends is so important to break down barriers

The Dementia Friends initiative is a very special thing it’s about breaking down the barriers and misconceptions that surround this illness.
The layout and training you receive is excellent. The first part of the training day is to make you a Dementia friend, once you’ve accomplished that it’s on with the training. It’s a very easy format with just enough information without sensory overload.
It’s quick and to the point without becoming too technical or boring. A selection of activities are also used to illustrate the problems people with dementia have in their daily living routines, reiterating the five points about dementia, which are :-

It’s not a part of getting old
It’s caused by diseases of the brain – the most common being Alzheimer’s
It’s not just about losing your memory
People can live well with dementia with the right support and understanding
There is more to the person than the dementia

The message of Dementia Friends came across really strongly and everyone was so enthusiastic. It’s a fantastic and simple idea that will make a real difference to the lives of people with dementia. It’s all about getting the message out there and expelling the myths and preconceptions that revolve around people with this condition.

By going around as many people and groups as we can we will be helping to improve the day-to-day lives of people with dementia and allow them to live normal lives for longer which in turn allows them more time at home with their loved ones, keeping people out of homes and saving the NHS millions! It has now rolled out to Wales where we, Jayne and I, attended the launch and actually ran an info session for Lloyd’s Bank for ITV in the morning prior. Watch the ITV interview here :-
http://www.itv.com/news/wales/update/2014-02-19/charity-launches-dementia-awareness-scheme/

So it’s up to us to take responsibility to change the attitude towards dementia; by becoming “aware” we can shift previous stigmas and misconceptions, creating a dementia aware society and creating dementia friendly communities.

By becoming Dementia Friends Champions, we (the wife and I) hope to play a part in this huge social action movement, and create 100′s of dementia friends.

It is estimated that there are over 45,500 people living with dementia in Wales; two-thirds of them live in the community. Yet sadly they don’t feel part of our community, but with help and support people with dementia can play an active part for sometimes many years.
It’s all about turning understanding into action, it’s about educating people.

As I said earlier the wife, Jayne, and I do our sessions together – as a team. Why you may ask, well it’s a necessity :-

It’s different, people quite enjoy the towing and frowing!
We work well together; we’re a team in the house and out!
But the biggest reason, is that she is there to support me because at the young- ish age of 52 years, I have Vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s, a form of mixed dementia, so if I can be a Dementia Friends Champion ,any of you can do it! So please do!
So you see it is possible to live with dementia, especially when you have understanding and support! Which is what Dementia Friends is all about and which is why we enjoy being part of this fabulous initiative.

Chris Roberts
@mason4233

Dementia Friends Champion
dementiafriends.org.uk

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