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.
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.
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.