If you saw someone living with dementia, would you recognize the signs?
Would you be uncomfortable?
Would you avoid them?
Would you be frustrated?
Would you do nothing?
Or, would you be a friend?
Dementia Friends is a global movement that is changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. Developed by the Alzheimer’s Society in the United Kingdom, the Dementia Friends initiative is underway in Massachusetts. By helping everyone in a community understand what dementia is and how it affects people, each of us can make a difference for people touched by dementia.
To become a Dementia Friend, people participate in a one-hour Dementia Friends Information Session. They learn about dementia and a bit about what it’s like to live with dementia. After completing the workshop, Dementia Friends can turn their understanding of dementia into a practical action that might help someone with dementia living in their community. This action can be as big or as small as the individual chooses.
Dementia Friends Information Sessions are run by “Dementia Friends Champions.” It is not a formal training, a series of activities and discussions that cover the basic information everyone should know about dementia.
Dementia Friends Champions
A Dementia Friends Champion is a person who has attended a Dementia Friends Information Session, and has chosen to participate in the additional Champion training. Once the Champion training is successfully completed, the Champion may facilitate Dementia Friends sessions with friends, family, co-workers, or anyone else in their community.
A Dementia Friends Champion does not need to be a dementia expert. The Champion’s goal during a Dementia Friends Information Session is to help community members understand dementia and the small things they can do to make a difference for people living with dementia.
If you would like to host a Dementia Friends Information Session on the North Shore, please contact SeniorCare’s Age & Dementia Friendly Coordinator at 978-281-1750 for information on Dementia Champions in your neighborhood.
For more information about the Dementia Friends Massachusetts initiative, visit their website at www.dementiafriendsma.org.