6 reasons why you should become a Dementia Friend

Dementia Friends is the biggest ever social action movement to change perceptions of dementia. Find out why you should be a part of it.

Dementia doesn’t care who you are; it could affect us all. Because public understanding is so poor, people with dementia often feel – and are – misunderstood, marginalised and isolated. And that means that they’re less likely to be able to live independently in their own communities.

We need to create a climate of kindness and understanding so that everyone affected by dementia feels part of, not apart from, society.

Our Dementia Friends initiative is doing just that. It’s the biggest ever movement to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about dementia. And you can be a part of it.

Need further convincing? Take a look at our top 6 reasons for becoming a Dementia Friend.

Why should you become a Dementia Friend?

Dementia Friends in a service
Anyone can become a Dementia Friend and help challenge perceptions about dementia.

1. Learn about dementia and how it affects a person’s life

What is it actually like to live with dementia? How does it affect someone’s life day-today? When you become a Dementia Friend, you’ll learn about the real-life impact of the condition and the small actions we can all take to help.

2. Become more confident when spending time with someone with dementia

73% of people who have become Dementia Friends say they now feel more confident interacting with people affected by dementia.

Katie Harrison, whose mother lives with Alzheimer’s disease said:

Becoming a Dementia Friend has helped me understand the day-to-day realities of dementia and how I can adapt my mum’s environment to accommodate her needs.’ Now even my children, who are only 12 and 10, would know if someone with dementia is struggling and they aren’t afraid to help, which has made a huge difference to my mum’s wellbeing.'

3. Help people affected by dementia to stay active 

Many people with dementia experience a loss of self-confidence and become less active in their community.

You can help change this by learning about dementia and understanding what actions can help people to stay an active part of their community. That way, people with dementia can continue to take part and do the things they love like visiting a museum, going shopping or having a chinwag at the local pub!

Dementia Friends
Whether swimming lengths or visiting your local cinema, Dementia Friends can help people living with dementia have fun.

4. Reduce the stigma around dementia

‘I don’t want to make anyone feel awkward.’ ‘Let’s just leave it.’ ‘I don’t want to talk about it…’

Sound familiar?

We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about dementia. And people affected by the condition shouldn’t be ashamed to tell others about their experience.

By becoming a Dementia Friend, you’ll be encouraging us all to start talking about dementia openly and honestly.

5. Challenge misconceptions of the disease

Dementia is just for old people, right? Wrong. It’s not a natural part of ageing, it affects more than someone’s memory and it’s possible to live well with the condition. 

You can challenge the many myths that surround dementia by becoming a Dementia Friend.

6. Join over 2 million people who are taking action 

One in every 30 people in England, Northern Ireland and Wales are part of the biggest ever social action movement to change perceptions of dementia.

That’s an estimated 166,666 hours spent by Dementia Friends, taking on actions to help people with dementia. The equivalent of 19 years!

You too can join the Dementia Friends movement. From contributing to the growing number of Dementia Friendly Communities to spending more time with a neighbour who has dementia, every single action counts. Every single one.

Be a part of the Dementia Friend movement

Becoming a Dementia Friend is simple. You can either watch our online video or attend a local information session.

Already a Dementia Friend? Leave a comment and let us know why you signed up!

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11 comments

Add your own

I have Alzheimers so how can I be friend.

Hi Lance, thanks for your comment. Great to hear that you’re interested in becoming a Dementia Friend! There are two ways to join:

The first is to attend a face-to-face Information Session in your area. You can search for one in your area here: https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/WEBSession

Alternatively, you can watch the video on our website and register to become a Dementia Friend, here: https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/

Also, Alzheimer’s Society can provide lots of help and support if you are looking for it. Find out more on our website and let us know if you have any more questions.

I signed up following the death of my Wife Pauline in 2016. She had Alzheimer's Disease for several years & I needed help at our Home to provide effective Care, & look after my own health . Eventually NHS agreed we were eligible for Continuing Healthcare but this process took nearly a year to achieve !

As it was so difficult to get help from NHS I launched a website to help as many people as possible to obtain their right to help from this source. Alzheimer's Disease does qualify provided the overall level of Need is sufficient.

However you have to be aware how NHS Assess people before the meeting takes place , so you have to be ready to answer their questions. If you are close to a relative with Alzheimer's , or a Dementia Friend , this NHS benefit enabling long term Care to be effectively funded could be the most valuable help possible for all concerned !
Details are on https://continuinghealthcare.wordpress.com/
Best wishes to all Dementia Friends . Peter Garside

Jeremy

We should always be a dementia friend and extend support and compassion whether they live in their own house or in a nursing/care home.

How can you be a friend when you exclude them from activities?

Best to be a friend even when they are in advanced stage and increasingly frail and please do not invent excuses for inexplicable decisions!

Jack

I very much agree, especially with your last paragraph. I care for my Dad who lives with me, and has Alzheimers. I will do almost anything to keep him living at home with me, because I believe that in a family surrounding My Dad has a better chance of being stimulated and included in day to day routines. Just because a person is advanced (my Dad is middle to end medium stage) does not mean that they may not take things on board. There is a stigma surrounding that is it not worth visiting a person with advanced dementia. Of course, there is, even just one word may spark the brain to acknowledge a memory etc. Becoming a Dementia Friend is our chance to educate people

I'm an Alzeimer's (dementia) friend by default as I care for a partner with advancing |Alzeimer's - it can be quite hard work, although not all the time (thankfully!!)

I cared for my mum through her diagnosis until her death. I wish I’d known about Dementia Friends at that time. Apart from practical help from social services (especially her social worker who understood the disease) I felt quite alone.
Even close members of our family became distant towards the end as they didn’t know how to cope.
It can feel very lonely and sad to watch a loved one slowly drift away from you.

I agree with Caro who says : " I wish I had known about Dementia Friends", when I took care of my mother who was diagnosed as well with Dementia. I had no family nearby or friends who I could trust to help me out.
Sincerely,
Don

I became a dementia friend when my Dad was diagnosed with mixed dementia, I wanted to learn about what my Dad would be going through. I also went on and completed a Dementia Care Course through my local college to further my learning of this illness.

Mixed vascular dementia—taking Aricept and Namendia—what to expect through progression?

Hi Leo,

It's important to remember that everyone experiences dementia differently. Viewing dementia as a series of stages can be a useful way to understand the condition, but how quickly it progresses depends on the individual.

We have some information on how dementia progresses on our website that you might find useful: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/info/20073/how_dementia_progresses

You can also call our helpline for support or advice on 0300 222 11 22. It's open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, extending to 8pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; Saturday to Sunday from 10am-4pm

Hope this is useful, and please let us know if you have any more questions.

Thanks,

Kyle

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