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Jun 1 2015

Becoming a dementia friend

Today I took a 96 year old cousin of my long deceased grandmother to a memory assessment. I’m her only living family, albeit a distant member. It was a challenging morning for both of us. Not only does she now have very limited mobility which makes it a huge effort getting her in and out of the car and in and out of a community hospital building, but given her increasingly poor mental health it’s distressing for her to be moved about, to meet new people and be asked questions when she doesn’t understand what is expected of her. And I too find it difficult because I feel very ill-prepared to be able to support her effectively as I know little about the condition and what best to say or do to help her. That’s why I have now signed up to become a Dementia Friend. I’ve watched the video, sent off for my pack and requested a date to attend an information session. I’ve joined over 1 million people in volunteering to become more aware and more supportive of the rapidly growing number of people in the UK with dementia. This seems to me to be a necessity for all people to ensure we can each demonstrate empathy and understanding to affected people in our communities that we could encounter any time any day. By each of us thinking and acting differently we can each help to value each individual and tackle the exclusion that dementia too often brings.