I've taken a personal step towards helping end the stigma surrounding dementia by becoming a Dementia Friend.
I recognised a need to share knowledge and information across all MK agencies working to support those with dementia and so, in February this year, the Dementia Forum was created. The forum was used as a platform to deliver the Dementia Friends training and I was one of 15 people who took part in a number of exercises aimed at helping participants understand the effect of dementia on people's everyday lives.
Dementia Friends was launched in February 2013 by Alzheimer's Society. It is a trailblazing initiative that aims to help people understand what it might be like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action. 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 the 650,000 people currently living with the condition in the country.
I've signed up to show my support for Dementia Friends and I am encouraging people in Milton Keynes to do the same. With a growing number of people living with dementia, it's important more than ever that we all have a better understanding of the condition.
Dementia Friends is about giving people an understanding of dementia and the small things they can do that make a difference to people living with dementia. From helping someone find the right bus to spreading the word about dementia, it can help make our local community a better place to live.
If you are interested in becoming a Dementia Friend or helping create more communities that are dementia friendly, go to www.dementiafriends.org.uk to find your nearest information session or to volunteer as a Dementia Friends Champion.