Karin Smyth MP and her constituency team have become ‘Dementia Friends’, as part of a campaign to tackle the stigma and lack of understanding around the condition, having attended a free one-hour Information Session run by local Dementia Friends Champion Natalia Peremiquel.
Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, talks and acts about the condition. The charity wants there to be four million Dementia Friends with the know-how to help people with dementia feel understood and included in their community.
There are currently over 4,600 people living with the condition in Bristol alone and 850,000 across the whole of England.
Dementia Friends Champions are volunteers who talk to people about being a Dementia Friend in their communities. Natalia Peremiquel said: “I was so pleased to see Karin Smyth MP show her support for people with dementia. We need to create more communities and businesses that are dementia friendly so that people affected by dementia feel understood and included.
“Whether you attend a face-to-face session or watch the online video, Dementia Friends is about learning more about dementia and the small ways in which you can help. From telling friends about the Dementia Friends programme to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts.”
Karin Smyth first became a Dementia Friend last year when working in the NHS, and encourages her constituents to join her in doing so. She said: “I am encouraging people in south Bristol to join the Dementia Friends initiative because with a growing number of people living with the condition, it’s more important than ever that we have a better understanding of how it affects people and how we can best support them.”
Anyone interested in supporting the campaign should go to www.dementiafriends.org.uk
• Dementia Friends is an initiative led by Alzheimer’s Society which helps people to understand a bit more about dementia and the little ways they can help.
• Dementia Friends and Dementia Friends Champions can sign up through the Dementia Friends website www.dementiafriends.org.uk
• Over one million people have become Dementia Friends in the UK. As part of Alzheimer’s Society’s long-term commitment to help more communities and businesses become dementia-friendly, a new target of creating four million Dementia Friends by 2020 has been set.
• Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia, more than half have Alzheimer’s disease. In less than ten years a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to 1.7 million people by 2051.
• Alzheimer’s Society works in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, championing the rights of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them.
• You can find out more about Alzheimer’s Society through their website www.alzheimers.org.uk