Last week twenty-one Health and Social Care students from Sidmouth College made a commitment to improve the lives of people living with dementia when they took part in an information session to become Dementia Friends. Sidmouth College are one of the first schools in the country to join in the Alzheimer’s Society initiative to make England more dementia friendly.
The aim is for there to be one million Dementia Friends around the country by 2015.
The students learned five key facts about dementia and, through real-life examples and scenarios, were able to understand what it’s like to live with the condition. Importantly, everyone made a personal commitment to make a difference by identifying at least one action they were going to take. Comments and actions pledged by the students included:
“Even though someone has dementia, I will still treat them as a person and as an equal. This is because I have learnt that living with dementia is very hard and if you understand that they have dementia it will be easier to talk and react.”
“I will be looking to help out with the people in the community that have dementia.”
“I am going to prepare myself for seeing people with dementia and tell my friends not to make fun.”
“I will visit the Memory Café and help the people in the community that have dementia.”
“I will do my best to look past the dementia and see the person as an equal. I will think about how simple things for us can be twice as hard and I will be thankful for the things I can do.”
“I will always, from now on, be patient with everyone in shops, etc … and when I’m out be a little more aware.”
At the end of the session – facilitated by volunteer Dementia Friends Champion, Rachel Johnstone, and Sid Valley Memory Café Coordinator, Angela Thompson – the students were given a Dementia Friend forget-me-not badge to wear with pride.