September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and the focus this year is Dementia and encouraging people to become a Dementia Friend.
At Academy we have a number of Dementia Friends and Dementia Friend Champions in the business.
Our healthcare team works hard to ensure we understand and support our residents, especially during these challenging times. One way we do that is by having a network of Dementia Friends.
An Alzheimer’s Society’s initiative, Dementia Friends aims to change the way we think, act and talk about the condition.
We spoke to Matt Nicholas, Development Manager, one of the Dementia Friends Champion at Academy to understand more about the programme.
He said: “Being a Dementia Friend really helped me understand more about the condition and better support our residents. I decided to become a Champion so I could support others in their journey to help make a positive difference to those living with dementia in their community.
“It is hugely rewarding to be able offer dementia friends’ sessions to the team within Atalian Servest and in my own community at our village hall.”
During COVID-19 we are all getting used to new ways of living safely and living with dementia during this period has its own set of challenges.
Dementia is defined by Alzheimer’s Society as “…a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language.”
Therefore, increased hygiene and rules around socialising and wearing masks in public can be very challenging for those living with dementia.
Raising awareness of these challenges and understanding the difficulties faced can help those in our communities who are living with dementia or caring for someone who is.
Matt said: “It’s especially important right now that we all increase our understanding of dementia and offer support and compassion to those in our communities impacted.
“Offering sessions face to face is challenging at the moment, but we’ve been able to move to online sessions to ensure we can continue to help share the message at such a critical time.
“Practical help can be as simple as treating someone in the supermarket with respect and dignity as they may take more time as they shop or struggle with social distancing, or staying in touch with a loved one of someone who is living with dementia to listen and be there to talk things through.”
To find out more about dementia or about becoming a Dementia Friend, visit www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-involved/dementia-friendly-communities/making-your-community-more-dementia-friendly