Talking Politics: Become a dementia friend

Recently I became a ‘Dementia Friend’.

Not only that, but my whole team are also receiving training to become Dementia Friends. Dementia is caused by a number of diseases affecting the brain. The most common is Alzheimer’s but there’s also Vascular Dementia, Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Pick’s disease. Although it affects over 65s mainly, it’s far from exclusive to that age group and younger people get it too.

It often starts with short-term memory loss, but can also affect the way that people think, speak and do things. People can become confused, have difficulty communicating as they can’t remember words they want, and can have difficulties planning. Dementia also affects people’s moods and motivations. This can happen if the disease affects the part of the brain that controls emotions. Even if it doesn’t, people with dementia can feel sad, frightened, frustrated or angry because of what’s happening to them.

There are 5 things to remember about dementia;

It’s not a natural part of the ageing process

It’s caused by diseases of the brain

It is not just about losing your memory

It’s possible to live well with it

There is more to the person than the dementia. The good news is that with support, people living with dementia can still enjoy their hobbies, have good relationships with partners and friends and live independently for longer. The Dementia Friends initiative is helping to turn communities across England into ‘dementia friendly’ communities. These are villages, towns and cities where more people understand dementia, where there is less fear and avoidance, and where people living with dementia are included and supported to live independently for longer. If you are interested in becoming a dementia friend then have a look at the web site www.dementiafriends.org.uk