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Anne Cole is making a difference

28 Nov 2013

I became a Dementia Friends Champion to support people living with dementia in our community

Making a difference

Dementia friends is a national initiative being run by the Alzheimer’s Society to give more people an understanding of dementia and the small things that could make a difference to people living in their community. I was inspired by the initiative and the plan to create a network of a million dementia friends and communities.

I signed up for a dementia friends champions training course and met some incredible people of all ages, experiences, walks of life and reasons for being there and wanting to contribute. At the end of an excellent day’s training we had all become dementia friend’s champions. I started by speaking to a few people at our local village hall coffee morning to test out my new knowledge and skills. As a result of this I was then invited to speak to the local W.I. which really tested me out – forty-four people who were pretty conversant with dementia already! The evening went really well and I got some really constructive feedback to improve my session.

So what next? Well being a pharmacist and a CPPE tutor, I wondered whether there was something we could do to spread the word through our networks. I was then approached by Somerset local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) who were working with Somerset CCG on an ambition for all staff working in pharmacies in Somerset to become dementia friends or dementia friends champions to make pharmacies dementia friendly.

Progress since then has been the development and pilot workshop of a new CPPE workshop ‘dementia friends and focal point’ with roll out across England planned for next semester. The event consists of a dementia friends information session followed by part of the CPPE dementia focal point. Attendees will become dementia friends and we will consider what this means for pharmacy professionals and pharmacies.

All CPPE staff received a dementia friends information session at our national meeting in October and many have gone on to become dementia friends champions themselves. We have just received an invitation to run a dementia friends information session for all 450 delegates at the national conference of one of the large pharmacy multiples.

Finally there are at least three universities in England, that we are aware of, who are planning to roll dementia friends out across the whole organisation. So if you are inspired to become a dementia friend or champion or would like to find out more take a look at and join us!

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