Dementia Friends is an awareness raising project of the Alzheimer's Society, and I recently attended a training session run at Leicester City Council.
To become a Dementia Friend, you sign up on the Dementia Friends website, watch a video introduction, attend a one hour training session, and then pledge to turn your new knowledge into action. That action might be to befriend and talk to someone you know who is living with dementia, or it might be volunteering or campaigning. It might be acting differently because you are more aware of what it might be like to live with dementia. It might be telling other people about this scheme.
The training made the point very well that the issue is not the person with dementia doing things we might find odd or frustrating, but the way that we deal with that behaviour. The exercises made us realise that dementia affects different people in different ways, and that it is possible to have quality of life while living with dementia. We wrote instructions for making a cup of tea, and realised how complicated "everyday" things are if you have memory problems or are disorientated.
As an action, I shall be checking that at work we have up to date resources that will help our medical and social work students be dementia friendly. As part of that I will put some web resources in a separate post.