Helping staff to become Dementia Friends

Over 100 staff and Board members at Grand Union Housing Group (GUHG) have learnt what it’s like to live with dementia by becoming Dementia Friends, an Alzheimer’s Society initiative.

Three members of GUHG staff volunteered to become Dementia Friends Champions. Trained and supported by the Alzheimer’s Society, they have been running the hour-long information sessions since October 2015 and to date all of GUHG’s Board Members and half of the staff have become Dementia Friends.

Mark Green, GUHG’s Supported Housing Manager, said: “With the current population of over 65s in our operating regions setting to rise by over 50% by the year 2030, the number of people living with dementia is also going to similarly increase.

“We recognise the importance of providing services to our older customers and pride ourselves that these services reflect the needs of the individuals. It is therefore vital that we understand our customers, particularly those who might be more vulnerable, such as anyone living with dementia.”

Staff who take part in a dementia awareness information session learn key facts about dementia and are asked to consider how they might turn their understanding into action in their local community.

The Dementia Friends programme aims to transform the way the nation thinks, talks and acts about dementia. The initiative was launched to help challenge a lack of understanding of the condition that can mean those experiencing it often find themselves socially excluded or lonely.