Nearly 55 million people are now living with dementia worldwide, with research showing that this number is expected to increase to 78 million in 2030 and 139 million by 2050. More than 850,000 people in the UK are currently living with dementia. In support of this year’s World Alzheimer’s Month, Friends of the Elderly’s Dementia Champions are talking ‘Knowing Dementia’.
In the UK, one in 14 people over the age of 65 have dementia, with the condition affecting one in six people over 80. After the age of 65, the likelihood of developing dementia roughly doubles every five years. Friends of the Elderly recognised this and took action. Through working in partnership with the University of Worcester’s highly regarded Association for Dementia Studies and Professor Dawn Brooker MBE (who has since retired), the charity created its Dementia Education Programme.
Through its Dementia Education Programme, Friends of the Elderly has trained Dementia Champions who work in its care homes and day care centres and they are on hand to support residents, clients and their families.
All of the charity’s Dementia Champions are exceptionally passionate about their work and strive to demystify dementia to help those who are either living with or supporting a loved one who is living with dementia.
The charity’s Dementia Champions focus on encouraging independence, giving reassurance, supporting and helping, inspiring communication, creativity, interactions, and providing high quality bespoke care with dignity that meets each person’s individual needs.
“The word ‘dementia’ is a daunting one,” said Lana Boneva, Dementia Champion at Redcot residential care home in Haslemere, Surrey. “To be faced with the loss of your memory, thinking ability, your language and problem-solving skills is an awful thing to go though as your daily life will never be the same.”
“Our Programme, which has been rooted and adopted throughout the charity at all levels, is an ongoing, inclusive education programme,” said Friends of the Elderly’s Chief Operating Officer, Mark Wilson. “It not only educates our team members, but also builds on their existing knowledge-base and skills, expands their capabilities and heightens their proficiency.”
“Our Dementia Champions know how imperative it is to focus on what they know about a person living with dementia and what that person is confident in. If they are engaged, motivated and inspired, even for a little while, they are cheerful and content – and that time is quality time.”