A South Staffordshire GP practice has become one of the first in the area to join a campaign to tackle the stigma and lack of understanding around the condition by changing the way people think, act and talk about dementia.
Six members of staff at Lakeside Medical Centre in Church Road, Perton, attended a free one hour information session and have become Dementia Friends - an initiative run by the Alzheimer’s Society.
Alzheimer’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, talks and acts about the condition. The charity wants there to be four million ‘Dementia Friends with the know-how to help people with dementia feel understood and included in their community.
There are currently 850,000 people living with the condition in England.
Dementia Friends champions are volunteers who talk to people about being a dementia friend in their communities. Speaking about the session, Lindsey Smith Alzheimer’s Society Information Worker for South Staffordshire and Dementia Champion said: ‘I was so pleased that Lakeside Medical Centre have showed their support for people with dementia by inviting me to deliver a Dementia Friends session to their staff.
"We need to create more communities and businesses that are dementia friendly so that people affected by dementia feel understood and included. Becoming a Dementia Friend and by working towards creating dementia friendly communities we also hope to help to remove that stigma and fear wrongly associated with the disease so that those who may be worried about their memory know where to go and feel able to seek support and guidance from their GP and local dementia services.”
Lakeside Practice Manager Marie Wright said that the medical centre would be continuing to mark their Dementia Friends status by wearing their Dementia Friends badges and proudly displaying their Dementia Friends status as well as developing information displays on dementia in their patient waiting areas. They will be looking to join the Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) by signing up to the National Dementia Declaration.
Other GP practices in the area are also looking to sign up to the Dementia Friends initiative.
Dr John James, Chairman of South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are delighted that staff at our member practices are taking this action to increase awareness and help people living with dementia and would urge everyone to consider how they can support people living with this condition in our community.”
• PICTURE: Staff at Lakeside Medical Centre in Church Road, Perton, celebrate becoming Dementia Friends