Why becoming a Dementia Friend helps one to be everyone's friend
Late last year I became a Dementia Friend and then a Dementia Champion because I wanted to help others understand a little more about Dementia in order that we can all help people with dementia live as well as possible. (This is not to say that I am an expert.)
My mother had dementia and from this experience, the one thing that I would say to anyone is that they should remember that the person is still there. No matter what stage the person is at the emotions are still there - whether or not they recognise you. Strangely, it wasn't until after my mother had died that I found out about Dementia Friends.
Dementia Friends is an initiative from the Alzheimer's Society to change society's perception of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition.
A dementia friend attends a one hour session and learns a bit more about living with dementia and then turns what they have learned into an action, however small.
Dementia Friends is about learning more about dementia and learning how even small actions can help.
It is about understanding and kindness. It doesn't take much to be kind. Small things like not getting impatient in a supermarket if the person in front of you is struggling with their change - they may have dementia.
It is about understanding that those who help people to live with dementia are also affected by it.
Being a dementia friend also helps you to be everyone's friend. It helps one look past actions to the person and ask oneself why a person acts the way they do.
To sign up to a Dementia Friends session go to
www.dementiafriends.org.uk and check out sessions in your area.