Dementia Friendly Society in the UK

There is a lot of work going on to make the country more dementia friendly, but this is also causing a lot of trouble as many people with dementia feel, that dementia is being used by this government for political reasons.

Many wonder if this is just another government target which must be met?

I think this is just something pushed out by Mr Cameron for his own purposes, and does not really achieve very much.

It may make us more aware of dementia, but there is a danger that after taking this training, you assume wrongly, that you understand everyone who has the illness.

I have done a lot of work raising awareness of dementia, and have done dementia champions training, although if I am honest I did wonder why I did it, because I think I knew more about the illness than the trainer.

I think this is what people are complaining about, when I have asked, because they realise that the trainers, are unable to answer basic questions about the illness.

Many of these trainers are not properly trained as far as dementia is concerned, and this raises many eyebrows, in society and business today

I have worked with dementia charities for a few years and have been totally shocked at the lack of knowledge their staff have when it comes to this subject, or they think they have heard about dementia, so we are all the same?

I know that many people claim to know everything about dementia, including many in these front line charities, but then they make silly mistakes, which make many with the illness feeling angry
and annoyed.

Many of these charities think that everyone with dementia is the same, with the same symptoms and problems.

But they are not they are, as a leading professor said, we are all individuals on individual journeys.

I know that there may be around 10 types of dementia, but as I was told by a professor in Dementia, there are well over 120 variations and that is climbing every day, so no one can know it all, but they should at least have some good training before being let loose on society

It is my own opinion that this training should be done by qualified trainers, and not as many say
ex graduates in their first job.

The reason being that Dementia is a sensitive illness, and should be treated as such.

However one thing has puzzled me for some time, and that is the use or should I say the lack of use of people living with the illness.

Many people with dementia have had to be trained as dementia champions, even though they are living with the illness, and in many cases knew far more about the illness than the trainers.

This does make many wonder what is going on, because we should be using people with the illness to explain our problems, not using others, who have little or no real idea about what its like to live with dementia.

No matter how many events I speak at, I always hear the same things, and that is this. We can listen to all of the professionals speak about dementia at events, but you always get a better picture from someone who is living with the illness, as it comes straight from the heart. Warts and all.

So why don't charities use these people as they do in Scotland and other major countries around the world these days.

I think the answer is that they would rather use their chief executive or well known personalities, who may well have had a father or mother with the illness, rather than use someone with first hand knowledge of the illness ie, a person who has it. They think in their wisdom that these people have a bigger impact that someone living with the illness

This leads myself and many others to believe that we are only there to be used, as and when it is necessary after which we are hidden from view, as if we were not good enough.

I have spoken to many businesses and was always shocked when they told me that they had been trained to deal with dementia, yet they had a better response from staff, when it was done by someone with the illness later on.

Most of these comments come back to the same thing, and that is, the training they were given, could have been done better.

If they want dementia training they wanted it from someone with a good knowledge of what it is like to live with the illness.

I use our bank most weeks and the staff have told my wife, that after I spoke to them at one event, they know what to look for in others, or at least have a better idea.
By watching me they have learnt more about this illness and have a better of what to watch for

So is this dementia friendly training really working?

I do hope that this does work, as we need to do something positive, in raising awareness of dementia.
But at the same time we must be careful who we train, because there are too many people out in this world who could use it for the wrong reasons

The positives

However  there is a great deal of good work being done around the country, much of which is being done independently, by people who really care.

We see this in communities like Corbridge on Tyneside which is attempting to be a dementia friendly community, which is a bigger step forward and one which should be applauded.

This was set up by a community leader who wanted to help those with dementia, and he had the support of many shop owners etc, in the town.

But to do this they needed all of the traders in the town to take part, and that had positive results, because they all seemed prepared to take part, and for the right reasons.

This proved to me that communities can work wonders, if they are united, and in many cases they can do a lot of this, with or without the support of charities.

This is because these people understand the needs of those in their locality better than any charity could ever do.

We need this to work and work well, so let us all hope this works and also hope that people with dementia take an active part in training.


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