Posted on 11.7.14 by Michael Smoult
Tasoula Crosby explains how she became a Demenita Friends Champion and why it is so important to understand dementia…
I became a dementia friends champion because many of our clients either have dementia or are caring for a relative with dementia- understanding dementia is therefore a crucial part of understanding those client’s needs.
To become a dementia friends champion I went to a full day training session, this involved learning information about dementia and also about how to deliver information sessions to others, so that they can become “dementia friends”. I also had the opportunity to meet others from a variety of backgrounds who were training to become dementia friends champions, some who had decided to do it as a result of personal circumstances (i.e. had a relative with dementia) and others who were involved through their experiences at work.
I found the dementia friends information sessions really interesting and they helped to explain different aspects of dementia in an interactive way, using games and analogies that are really user friendly and don’t use any jargon. They also got people talking to each other about their preconceptions about dementia and how easily people with dementia can be misunderstood.
The idea of dementia friends is that dementia friends champions like myself and Moira run information sessions to others to learn about dementia, with the aim of creating dementia friendly communities where people understand the challenges faced by those with dementia. Understanding the challenges means that people are better placed to help those they encounter who have dementia. In addition, by increasing understanding this helps to de-stigmatize dementia and allow people to be more open about the problems and challenges they face.
At Gorvins we are championing the initiative by providing information sessions to staff, to ensure our office is a dementia friendly space. The majority of our staff have now been to an information session, and have found it really interesting to learn more about dementia and how it affects those living with it. We also intend to offer information sessions to other local businesses with a view to increasing awareness in other sectors. This also links in to our support of the Weekend Day Centre for Dementia Care, one of our charities of the year.