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Dementia friends scheme picking up pace

A national scheme dedicated to persuading employees to become ‘dementia friends’ is outstripping public expectation, with close to half a million workers already pledging their support for the idea. The pioneering dementia friends scheme is being overseen by the Dementia Creative Committee, whose chairman Roland Rudd has described the response that has greeted the concept …

A national scheme dedicated to persuading employees to become ‘dementia friends’ is outstripping public expectation, with close to half a million workers already pledging their support for the idea.

The pioneering dementia friends scheme is being overseen by the Dementia Creative Committee, whose chairman Roland Rudd has described the response that has greeted the concept so far as ‘incredible’.

Whilst specialist residential care homes in Oxford and elsewhere around the UK do an exceptional job of providing full-time care to those who need it most, the dementia friends programme is designed to ensure that people suffering from conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease are given the help they require whilst they are still living independently.

When the dementia friends scheme was still in the planning stages, the aim was announced of signing up 200,000 people who, by doing so, would be making a pledge to become ‘dementia-friendly’ contact points for customers they encounter who are living with the condition. With the number of employees having confirmed their support already surpassing 400,000, however, it is clear that the programme is set to be a big success across the country.

Health Secretary to meet business leaders

Several big high street names are among the businesses to have signed up already, including Marks & Spencer, Lloyds Bank, Superdrug and, more recently, Butlins and EasyJet.

This news no doubt means that there will be a positive feeling surrounding the upcoming meeting between Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the CEO of Marks & Spencer, Marc Bolland, when they discuss the project’s progress this Wednesday (2nd April).

Despite the extremely encouraging start to the scheme, however, both business leaders and politicians recognise publicly that there is still much to be done to ensure quality of life for those with dementia who remain living in the community, with improvements needed as the UK population continues to age.

 

Image Credit: Florian Rathcke (flickr.com)