It’s Dementia Action Week and today Will to Give chatted to a Dementia Friend.
Can you tell us what a Dementia Friend is?
A Dementia Friend is somebody that learns about dementia so they can help their community.
During our training, we learned that too many people affected by dementia feel that society fails to understand the condition they live with.
Dementia Friends help by raising awareness and understanding so that people living with dementia can continue to live in the way they want.
What prompted you to do the training?
I had the opportunity through my work to complete the Dementia Friends training and I am so glad I did.
I didn’t realise that I had a lot of misconceptions about dementia and it taught me life-long skills.
I think it also gave me the confidence and tools to communicate effectively with people with dementia, which I can apply in the workplace if needed but also in day to day life.
Is there anything else you have taken out of the training?
I think I’m definitely a lot less fearful of a dementia diagnosis now as I understand the condition a lot more. I feel much more equipped to deal with a future dementia diagnosis for a friend or a family member, or even myself.
My Dementia Friends training has also given me an opening to have some wider ‘difficult’ conversations with my immediate family about topics such as Will writing, Power of Attorney, funeral plans and organ donation.
It’s good to have those conversations sooner rather than later.
How often do you put your training to use?
I wouldn’t say I use it on a day to day basis but it has definitely made me more observant when I’m out and about.
I’m much more aware of the people around me and the possibility that they might need help or support or even a bit of extra time.
For example, I’m always rushing around, and if I’m in the queue in the supermarket I tended to be impatient if thought the person in front of me was being too slow.
Now I’m more conscious that they might actually need extra time, I’m also more likely to ask someone if they need help.
20,000 people in Northern Ireland live with dementia so the chances are I regularly come in to contact with someone who has that diagnosis.
What would you say to someone thinking about doing Dementia Friends training?
I’d say don’t think about it, just do it. You’ll not regret it and you’ll be surprised by how much you learn.
We all have a responsibility to support people living in our community with dementia and I’m proud to be one of 2.5 million Dementia Friends in the UK.
We never know what the future holds for any of us.
For more information about Dementia Friends training click here.
You’ll find more information about Dementia Action Week here.
Image Credit: Alzheimer’s Society Northern Ireland
Will to Give is a unique network of charities working together to encourage people in Northern Ireland to leave a charitable gift in their Will.
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