I’m always impressed to find out how others are handling the challenges of working with and supporting people living with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and memory loss. I recently discovered that the UK’s London Heathrow Airport plans to train 76,000 staffers in helping passengers with dementia. It also appears that this airport will go on to be the World’s first “Dementia Friendly Airport” too.
Rob Steward, from the Alzheimer’s Society, shared that there were 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia. He also said that although attitudes are changing, there’s still a stigma that surrounds many people who live with the condition. The heartbreaking part of this is that this stigma often leaves them feeling isolated and prevents them from traveling – something many may still enjoy.
Statistics for UK airports show:
- 55% had nothing specific to dementia care or awareness on their website
- 25% of staff have attended talks and intend to start training
- 10% have fundraised or donated to a dementia charity
- 10% are actively taking steps to become dementia friendly
In response to the growing desire to help those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, The Alzheimer’s Society in the UK has created an organization called the Dementia Friends. This new organization’s mission is to increase the public’s awareness of dementia and bring a deeper understanding of what the condition is. Its ultimate goal is to help make society more understanding and caring toward those suffering from dementia.
Dementia Friends, launched in March 2013, offers face-to-face training and online training. Both training programs help to instill the thought that we need to take the time out of our busy lives to fully understand those living with dementia. The biggest social impact that the Alzheimer’s Society has made has been its ability to enlist 1.7 million Dementia Friends nationwide who have a clear understanding of the many ways they can help people who live with the condition.
It’s so inspirational to see such a large group of people in the UK all working toward a common goal. For us here in the United States, I feel that we are also making many strides in how to handle dementia. I spend a majority of my time focused on helping to enhance caregivers’ skills on how to support families and individuals who are dealing with the many challenges of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Whether you work in a professional facility or would like a personalized community presentation, I’m here to create a greater understanding and valued experience for everyone who may be struggling with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or memory loss.
Please visit my training page for more information.