One-third of people suffering from dementia only leave the house once a week or even less, and need more support from health professionals as well as members of the public. Sarah Miles of the organisation Dementia Friends says that we can all play a part in helping those with the condition.
‘There are little things that we could be doing that will help people to continue being as independent as possible for as long as possible,’ she told last month’s NPA conference.
Ms Miles is encouraging everyone in the pharmacy to attend a local session and consider becoming a dementia champion. You can find a session near you by visiting the Dementia Friends website, www.dementiafriends.org.uk.
The short sessions will help you to find out more about dementia and how Dementia Friends is supporting people with the condition. The campaign aims for people living with dementia to be understood and included in their communities by encouraging one million people to become Dementia Friends.
Examples of actions that could be taken by a dementia friend are:
Reena Barai from Croydon is a pharmacist and a healthcare dementia champion who believes that everyone could benefit from attending a short 45-minute Dementia Friends session. She explains: ‘We all care about our patients and we are in a position to spot when a patient is displaying signs of dementia before any other healthcare professional.’
Ms Barai had a lightbulb moment following the Dementia Friends session she attended as she realised that dementia affects people in very different ways but many can live with it.
‘There are lots of small things that can be done on a daily basis to help individuals and customers who are suffering from dementia,’ she explained. If dementia has made a patient housebound, for example, you could deliver their medicine to their home or show patience when a customer is struggling with their change.
Dementia patients are a high priority on Ms Bari’s to do list. ‘My staff go that extra mile now and for me, being a dementia champion has reignited my passion,’ she said.