The Alzheimer’s Society is supporting the initiative which will see all members, staff and the wider parliamentary community improve their understanding of dementia and take action to support those with the condition.
Hundreds of MPs and Peers have already committed to welcome, respect and support people with dementia in their roles by becoming Dementia Friends. After becoming the first parliamentarian to become a Dementia Friend Friends Champion, I was on hand to deliver an awareness session to a further 40 colleagues on Monday, June 30 including House of Commons and MPs staff.
I have worked closely with Alzheimer’s Society and have set creating a dementia-friendly Oldham borough as one of my top 10 priorities.
When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia very few of us are in a position to immediately know how to provide the best care for them and help them adjust. Generally we just cope the best we can, learning along the way, and that was certainly true for me and my family when my mum was diagnosed. For me the Dementia Friends sessions underline how important it is that we do everything we can to ensure communities across the country adapt to the needs of people with dementia and, of course, their carers.
By holding my own information session in Parliament, and back in my own constituency in the summer, I hope to encourage more people to become Dementia Friends and to reduce the stigma associated with the disease.
With the aim of creating a supportive environment for people with dementia and those affected by the condition, the Dementia-Friendly Parliament initiative calls to work towards the following:
- Make Dementia Awareness part of all newly elected MPs inductions
- Deliver Dementia Friends awareness sessions to all public facing staff so they can support external visitors living with dementia
- Provide MPs and Peers with information and knowledge about dementia to help them assist constituents affected by dementia
- Signpost staff with caring responsibilities for people with dementia to help through Alzheimer’s Society
Alzheimer’s Society is aiming to have one million Dementia Friends by 2015, to help make England more dementia-friendly and improve the lives of people currently living with the condition in the country including an estimated 2,426 people living in Oldham.