Dementia Friendly Society
When I first wrote this article in 2013, dementia was still a very misunderstood disease. I like to think now we are more aware of the disease.
The Government launched a campaign in 2012 to make society on the whole more Dementia Aware and friendly. Changes in attitude and a wider understanding of the condition need to happen so we can all make the lives of those with the condition easier.
As we all live longer the chances are more and more of us will find ourselves caring for someone with the disease or know someone who is. One in three people over 65 will have the disease.
Since the launch of the Prime Minister’s Challenge, creating dementia friendly organisations has been gaining momentum. The champion group has identified an initial group of sectors that play a part in the everyday lives of people who have dementia and action has started towards them becoming dementia friendly.
21 schools have formed a ‘Pioneer Group’ to develop dementia awareness sessions for children and young people across England.
This is in recognition that the effects of dementia are not only on the individual, but also for their families, and young people are often forgotten in this.
The Fire and Rescue Service have indicated that half of the people who die in accidental house fires are over 65 years old. Two-thirds of people who have dementia live in the community. They have a pledge to educate those caring for or living with someone with dementia to make life safer and reduce the risk of fires and accidents.
Energy providers are being educated further as people with dementia can have problems keeping their houses energy efficient and warm, as well as remembering to submit meter readings for utility usage and contacting their utility suppliers if they have a problem.
BT and Alzheimer’s Society have committed to producing a factsheet on dementia for customer-facing employees to help them to become more aware and deliver a better service to those living with dementia.
First Group plc are providing 17,000 of their bus drivers with dementia awareness training in order to improve understanding of dementia and some of the challenges people with dementia face in using public transport.
When shopping in unfamiliar areas or larger supermarkets, some people with dementia said they sometimes lacked confidence or felt pressurized. This is because staff are unlikely to be aware that they have dementia and that they may need more time to count change or understand instructions.
In response to this Tesco are committed to looking at ways to increase dementia awareness and understanding with their staff. They have worked with Alzheimer’s Society to produce a
DVD, which will be piloted with Tesco staff to help raise awareness of dementia and help staff to better support customers with dementia.
These are all positive steps and perhaps a few TV adverts to reach the wider population may be introduced, ignorance is not bliss and the more we all know will only serve us with understanding and tolerance