13,000 Scots become Dementia Friends

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To coincide with World Alzheimer's Day, Alzheimer Scotland pledges to triple the number of Dementia Friends.

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21st September 2015 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Scotland is on target to become a dementia friendly nation with up to 13,000 Scots taking part in Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Friends initiative in the last year.

The news coincides with World Alzheimer’s Day (Monday, 21 September), where the charity pledged to triple that number over the next 12 months.

With no known cure and with over 90,000 people living in Scotland with dementia, and the number set to double in a generation to 180,000, the Dementia Friends initiative aims to make everyday life better for people with the condition, and change the way the nation thinks, talks and acts when it comes dementia. 

Anyone can become a Dementia Friend, from affected families to the whole community, including workplaces.  

Understanding dementia from Alzheimer Scotland on Vimeo.

Anna Devine, director of fundraising at Alzheimer Scotland, said: “As the number of people living with dementia in Scotland continues to rise, we need to make dementia everyone’s business, this is why this first milestone in our campaign to create a dementia-friendly nation is so momentous.

“Alzheimer Scotland is passionate about helping families and communities work together to support the thousands of people affected by this terrible condition now and in the future.  

“I am delighted that so many individuals, organisations and workplaces are becoming Dementia Friends including football clubs, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and many major high street banks and retailers.

“We need to reduce the discrimination, isolation and stigma around dementia and emphasise that people can live well in the community with the right support.

“For too long there has been a negative stigma attached to the condition which is widely misunderstood as simply memory loss and a natural part of ageing. It’s our mission to make a bold move towards creating a society which is inclusive of and faces up to dementia. This World Alzheimer’s Day, I urge Scots everywhere to join our campaign to help make a difference to the lives of others by becoming a Dementia Friend.”

Learn how to become a Dementia Friend today by watching the online information video above. If you want to know how your business, workplace, school, college or organisation can get involved with Dementia Friends Scotland, visit the Alzheimer Scotland website.

Top five dementia friendly tips

1. Speak clearly 

Speak clearly, calmly and slowly to allow the person time to understand information. Use simple short sentences and avoid direct questions. Keep choices to a minimum and don’t raise your voice. 

2. Body language 

Smile warmly, make eye contact, make sure you are at the person’s level, use a friendly tone and respect personal space.

3. Listen 

Listen carefully to what the person has to say, giving plenty of encouragement, whilst looking out for other clues of what they might be trying to communicate.

4 Show respect and patience 

Adapt what you are saying if the person with dementia does not understand it. Allow them time to find the words to tell you what they want. Don’t rush and try to go at their pace.

5. Feeling lost

Sometimes people with dementia may feel lost in familiar places or forget where they live. If someone is lost and distressed offer to help by asking if their address is on something
they might have in their pocket or bag. If necessary, the police can help.