Your Dementia Friends

April 20, 2016 by Tracy

CertificateEarlier this year, our Lottery Canvassing Team completed their Dementia Friend training.  This friendly, knowledgeable group of individuals, represent the Charity out and about at supermarket stores and call on people door-to-door, to promote and encourage people to join our ‘Flight for Life’ weekly lottery.

The aim of the training was not about receiving a qualification.  Instead, its purpose was for our team to gain a better understanding of dementia, how to identify the common signs of someone suffering with the disease and the simple actions to take that will help.  Given the nature of the canvasser’s role within the community, the training would also help them to identify vulnerable adults who might unwittingly give consent to payments they cannot really afford.

Dementia is caused by a number of different diseases of the brain.  The most common is Alzheimer’s but there are others including Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Pick’s Disease.  Although more people over the age of 65 suffer from dementia, it’s not a natural part of the ageing process as younger people can have dementia too.

Dementia FriendsThe team learnt how it can be difficult to tell if someone has dementia as it affects everyone in very different ways.  Interactive discussions involved identifying the common symptoms of dementia which include short term memory loss, struggling to plan or complete tasks, problems with perception, confusion, indecisiveness and difficulty in reading or following instructions.

The day was deemed a real success and our team learnt so much in the process.  We were so pleased the approach that we plan to extend the training to include all our fundraising staff and volunteers.  As well as being known for our clinical excellence, we also want to be known as leaders when it comes to fundraising standards.  We think it’s the least you deserve!

The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends initiative was launched in March 2013.  The programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perception of dementia.  There are currently over one million Dementia Friends across England and Wales with a long-term commitment by the Alzheimer’s Society of creating four million Dementia Friends by 2020.