Buckinghamshire boasts one of first schools in the country where every pupil is a ‘Dementia Friend’

  |  Published: May 29th 2018

Would you know how to help someone who looks confused or disorientated? Did you know that with a few simple pointers you could make a real difference to someone with dementia as they go about their daily life? Did you know it’s still possible to lead an active and fulfilling life even if you have dementia?

If you don’t know the answers, the pupils of Wendover CE Junior School certainly will!

Every single one of the school’s 350 pupils has been trained as a ‘Dementia Friend’– which makes it one of the first schools in the country where every student has had this training.

Being a Dementia Friend means each student has learned about what it’s like to live with dementia, using materials especially adapted for children. Many of the children have gone into local care homes and have spent one to one time with a resident living with dementia.

The children have now pledged to raise awareness of dementia and to help someone living with the condition. They were presented with a special certificate signed by Sir Jackie Stewart at a Dementia Action Week event in Wendover on Thursday (24 May) to recognise their fantastic achievement.

Today’s event is part of Dementia Action Week here in Buckinghamshire and a big focus has been to increase general understanding about the condition. Every year in Buckinghamshire there are up to 700 new cases of dementia, with more than 7,000 people living with the condition in the county.

It’s projected that 1 in 3 babies born now will live well beyond 100 years and while dementia is not a natural part of aging it’s anticipated that more and more people will be diagnosed with dementia in the future.

Simple ways to make a difference include:

Asking if someone needs help if they look a bit lost or confused

Inviting people out and giving them some simple, practical assistance

Simply engaging older people in conversation when out and about

Lin Hazell, Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said:

”I’m immensely proud that here in Buckinghamshire we have the first school in the country where every pupil is a Dementia Friend – a huge well done to all the pupils at Wendover Primary School.

Of course dementia is a frightening condition but I think we can all benefit from learning more about it. I think a lot of people still may not really understand many of the realities of living with dementia, including that you can still live well even with a dementia diagnosis.

“We’ve had lots of great events going on all week in our libraries across the county to help people better understand dementia – I’m sure we can all do our bit to find out more about how we as individuals can help make life easier for sufferers too. It’s a reality that more people will be diagnosed with dementia here in Buckinghamshire in the future so equipping everyone for that is really important.”

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Dementia Friends is an initiative of the Alzheimer’s Society and is a key part of the Government’s ‘Ageing Population’ strategy to significantly increase the understanding of dementia amongst all groups including the very young

If you have concerns about your memory, or that of a loved one, please contact the Buckinghamshire Memory Support Service, which helps people with a diagnosis of dementia and their carers

The advisors are members of a fully trained and dedicated team working in the community alongside GP surgeries and memory clinics and will offer information, guidance and support.

Contact the Memory Support Service on 01296 331749 or memorysupport@alzheimers.org.uk

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