Fiona, our CEO, is a Dementia Friends Champion and, as her main focus for Dementia Action Week last week, targeted a minimum of 20 new Dementia Friends to add to the current total of 2,911,285 (22nd May 2019) and help The Alzheimers Society to reach the next target of 3 million Dementia Friends.
The fantastic news is that there were an additional 37,281 people signed up in the last week, taking the total to 2,948,566, and Fiona helped by actually recruiting 47 new Dementia Friends, after running a Dementia Awareness session at Hempsons Solicitors in Harrogate. What undoubtedly helped Fiona to raise the Dementia Friends profile was the fact that the session was transmitted simultaneously, by video link, to three other Hempsons offices in London, Manchester and Newcastle, with 47 members of the Hempsons team taking part and becoming dementia friends at the end of the session.
(Team members from Hempsons Harrogate)
Fiona regularly provides awareness sessions for groups and businesses all over Yorkshire, as a volunteer for The Alzheimer’s Society initiative to create a more dementia friendly community.
“This was the first time I have run a session using Video Technology and it was an interesting experience to have feedback, not only from people in the room, but also through the screen from the colleagues in other offices who took part. Previously, I have given separate sessions to firms in each of their offices, which has meant a very long day, with all the travelling in between. It has also meant sometimes repeating the session up to three times in one day.”
(Team members from Hempsons Manchester)
The feedback I received from the new Dementia Friends was really good to hear, with everyone finding the session very informative. There were many comments on the way it had changed people’s perceptions of dementia, which was particularly interesting.
It stimulated a lot of discussion afterwards about how family and friends had been affected by dementia, with one team member commenting that even though she had lost her father-in-law to vascular dementia and Alzheimers, and, more recently, her mum’s diagnosis of dementia before her untimely passing, she had still found the session very informative and helpful.
Hempsons are keen that all their staff become Dementia Friends and spread awareness and have requested a second session for those members of the team who were unable to attend the first one, so another date is imminent.
What is a Dementia Friend?
A Dementia Friend learns a little bit more about what it’s like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into action – anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend. Whether you attend a face-to-face Dementia Friends Information Session or watch the online video, Dementia Friends is about learning more about dementia and the small ways you can help. From telling friends about Dementia Friends, to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts.
What is a Dementia Friends Champion?
A Dementia Friends Champion is a volunteer who encourages others to make a positive difference to people living with dementia in their community. They do this by giving them information about the personal impact of dementia, and what they can do to help.
It’s easy to get involved. Dementia Friends Champions will attend an induction, receive support when they need it, and be part of thousands of other volunteer Dementia Friends Champions creating dementia friendly communities together.
The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition.
We are all Dementia Friends at Care Home Finder and Fiona has been a Dementia Friends Champion since 2015, has run 14 sessions and created over 200 new Dementia Friends so far. She is very keen to run more sessions, so if anyone knows of a group, club, association, school or business in the Yorkshire area which they feel would benefit from having a Dementia Awareness session, please get in touch with Fiona on 0345 853 0300. Alternatively, you can contact Dementia Friends through The Alzheimer’s Society at https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/ or call 0300 222 1122.