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Dementia Friends Champion

Justina Nurse, half of the husband and wife team who own and run Stuart Mobility, has recently trained to become a Dementia Friends Champion.  Here, Justina explains what this role means, why she chose to do it and how it helps those living with dementia in our local communities:

“Dementia Friends is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative aimed at educating people about the condition and giving them the information they need to be able to offer help and support to those with dementia in their local communities.  There are over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK.  1 in 6 people over 80 have dementia but it’s not exclusively confined to older people: over 40,000 under 65s are also living with the condition.  Many people affected by dementia feel like society fails to understand the condition, so Dementia Friends help by taking actions, big and small, which will make a difference.  This can be anything from visiting someone with dementia in your local community to having a bit more patience in a shop queue!

Most people are aware of the memory problems associated with dementia but it can affect people in many other ways, too.  It can cause difficulties with concentration, with planning and thinking things through, with carrying out familiar daily tasks such as using a bank card or following a recipe, problems with judging distances or mood changes and difficulties controlling emotions.  These are daily battles faced by those with dementia but there are many simple things that others can do to help and support them, making every day that little bit easier.

Firstly, it begins with awareness, which is why I trained to become a Dementia Friends Champion!  This is a voluntary role that enables me to run Dementia Friends information sessions, giving others the insight they need to become a Dementia Friend and support people living with the condition.  Sometimes, the smallest of actions – some patience or a few kind words – can make the biggest difference to someone who’s struggling.

Throughout my career I’ve met many, many people living with dementia and I’ve seen how this affects their daily lives – and impacts their loved ones, too.  Training as a Dementia Friends Champion allows me to do something positive to make a difference by inspiring, encouraging and supporting others to become Dementia Friends – educating them about the condition and showing how easy it is to offer support.  All of this will help people with dementia to feel welcomed and understood by their local communities rather than being isolated by the condition.”

Justina will be running Dementia Friends information sessions locally (around Derbyshire and Staffordshire) – and anyone is welcome to come along! For more information please contact the Stuart Mobility team on 01283 704071.  If you’re not local, don’t worry – there are Dementia Friends information sessions all over the country!  Find out about Dementia Friends information sessions in other areas.

Inspired by this?  If you’d like to become a Dementia Friends Champion too, you can find out more about how to train here.

Sources: dementiafriends.org.uk; alzheimers.org.uk

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