Dementia Friends Guest Blog

York Cares Intern Rosie recently attended a Dementia Friends information session so we asked her to write a Guest Blog about what she learnt at the training. This is what she had to say…

 

I recently attended a Dementia Friends Information Session in York about how to work in a dementia friendly way. This session was run by The Alzheimer’s Society, which has launched an initiative called ‘Dementia friends’ which is where an individual learns a little bit more about what it’s like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into action.

Dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These symptoms are progressive, meaning they will get worse over time. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes.

While dementia is commonly associated with older people, it also affects 40,000 young people in the UK. Therefore, this blog will describe how to volunteer in a dementia friendly way, as well as how to access further support and training on being dementia friendly.

How to volunteer in a dementia friendly way:

  • Be patient. It is important to understand that those with dementia have difficulty following conversation and finding the right words. Therefore, it is important to speak slightly more slowly and use simple words and sentences.
  • Listen and let them have a voice. Give them plenty of time and try not to rush them or answer the question for them. Avoid asking too many direct questions. Consider giving the person options or asking questions with a yes or no answer.
  • Break down activities or instructions into a series of steps. This makes many tasks much more manageable for the individual with dementia. Using visual cues and showing them how to do something, can be very helpful.

How to access further training on being dementia friendly:

  • Watch an online Dementia Friend video where you will meet Gina who is living with dementia and learn more about what it is like to live with the condition. After, you can sign up for your ‘Little Book of Friendship’, a resource pack which contains more information and tips on how you can support those living with dementia to feel a part of the community. You can access the video and information pack at: https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/register-digital-friend