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Dementia Action Week – Become a Dementia Friend

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Caroline, a Wellbeing Support Worker from the Durham team, explains how you can take action during Dementia Action Week by becoming a Dementia Friend.

A Dementia Friend is someone who has shown a commitment to learning about dementia and how they can help those in their local community. Now more than ever, those living with dementia and their loved ones need support, awareness, and understanding.

Why I became a Dementia Friend…

As part of my BelleVie training I signed up to be a Dementia Friend, and from there I then attended a Dementia Friends Information Session.

During the information session we talked about how we viewed dementia, and the general public perception. The session focused on five key messages: 

  1. Dementia IS NOT part of the natural aging process
  2. Dementia is caused by diseases in the brain
  3. Dementia IS NOT just about memory loss
  4. It IS POSSIBLE to live POSITIVELY with dementia
  5. There’s MORE to the person than dementia

I felt it was important for me to be a Dementia Friend because of my role of Wellbeing Support Worker, I wanted to develop my own awareness and understanding of dementia and ways of supporting people with dementia to live a better life.

This also prompted me to sign up for a CACHE Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Dementia Care, which I am currently working towards. 

Supporting people with Dementia…

I believe that each person with Dementia is a unique individual with their own life history and story. People with dementia will lose their short term memory first but memories of their earlier years will stay for longer.

I like to spend time finding out more about the person we’re supporting during my visits – their life, their family, their work, their hobbies and interests. 

For example, last week I was talking with a man we visit about how he used to play football and cricket when he was younger. He talked about the local cricket club he was a member of, and I was able to look up some of its history online and found old photos of the team. We looked at them together, and he even recognised some of the faces and could recall their names.

I quickly found that spending time making these connections helps to create positive feelings for the person with dementia. They may not remember the conversation when you’re gone but they will be left with the associated feeling.

Dementia Friends encourages people to commit to a dementia friendly action. Creating those positive feelings is important and something which, in our role as Wellbeing Support Workers, and as a wider community, we can all do.

Sign up to be a Dementia Friend today.

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