How Girlguiding is empowering young women to be dementia-friendly

A third of young people know someone with dementia. As this is set to rise as more people are diagnosed, it’s vital we raise awareness of dementia through youth organisations. Here's how Girlguiding is becoming more dementia-friendly.

We’ve teamed up with Girlguiding to create bespoke activity packs and session plans. The packs help raise dementia awareness and create a dementia-friendly generation.

During the sessions, Girlguiding groups can become Dementia Friends and are inspired to take action in their communities.

‘The activity packs always create ‘Aha!’ moments’

We spoke to Fiona Joines, a volunteer with Girlguiding and Dementia Friends Champion. She shared her experience of holding sessions on dementia, and how she’s created over 400 Dementia Friends:

I became a Dementia Friends Champion so I would be able to run sessions within Girlguiding. The values underpinning the Dementia Friends initiative align to those for Girlguiding.

Girl guides learning more about dementia

Girl guides learning more about dementia

A typical Girlguiding session on dementia

I have completed sessions with a range of age groups - Rainbows aged 5 to 7; Brownies aged 7 to 11; Guides aged 10 to 14; the Senior Section, aged 14 to 25, and fellow volunteers.

I’ve used the resources available from Alzheimer’s Society to hold sessions. The ‘My Brain’ activity, where children draw and label their brain with what it does, is a real learning moment for many. The activities always create ‘Aha!’ moments. I always receive thoughtful questions after the session.

Fiona giving a Girlguiding talk on dementia

Fiona giving a Girlguiding talk on dementia

The impact of dementia sessions on young people

The girls have shown they understand how dementia can impact a person’s life. Many of them know someone living with dementia.

A parent emailed after my session with the children saying: 

Many thanks to Fiona for her talk tonight on being a Dementia Friend. My Brownie realised that dementia is what a great friend of ours has. She explained it so clearly to me on the way home that I was almost in tears. Thank you for helping a nine year-old gain a better understanding.

I was able to see how the Dementia Friends initiative overlaps with the ethos behind Girlguiding. The main outcome for me was to increase awareness, which has definitely happened! Some members have gone on to teach their class about the condition. Others have taken personal actions, like visiting relatives more often.

Through my 19 sessions, over 400 Girlguiding members have become Dementia Friends. Some have gone on to fundraise for dementia charities!

If you’re part of a Girlguiding group, email us and let us know how you’ve used the resources and what your unit has been up to. We’d love to hear your stories!

Learn more about making your youth group dementia friendly

Download our free teaching resources for schools and youth groups.

Download our resources


Add a comment

I think this is a great idea, I am a manager of a 37 bedded dementia care home, and also run a Rainbow Unit. My girls come out to the home to interact with the resident. the children love it they play games, and do craft work together. and both children and the residents love to play with the parachute.
I hope you don't mind but i have been forwarding your email to other guiders. As i am very passionate about getting children involved with dementia care. your resource packs are good and informative for the right age group.

I am interested in receiving a pack as I work with older people who have a diagnosis of dementia. I have enjoyed reading the blog about how girl guides support people and by engaging with people who have dementia.

What a lovely idea, well done! I wish my family were so enlightened ....I get scowled at for mentioning it to my grandchildren that grandad has dementia...... I fear over protected children. We don't want to upset them ...well sorry but I won't be silent.... They need to know that their moments are precious .... if they are told age appropriate it becomes just a 'thing' something grandad has. Children are resilient and take on board more than some think. The more knowledge they have thee better adults they become as they will have empathy and understanding ....the more they know the more they will understand my humble opinion.

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