Each month, one of our DFOs (Dementia Friends Officers) answer one of your Dementia Friends Champions questions. Aimee Packwood, DFO for the South West, answers this month’s question: Dementia Friends
At my Information Session, a participant didn’t want to fill in the action card. Can I still give them their Dementia Friend badge without an action card?
As you are aware (hopefully from bingo point 12), Dementia Friends is about turning understanding into action hence, it is really important that everyone who wears a Dementia Friends badge has committed to an action, to make their community more dementia-friendly.
However, filling in the action cards is voluntary.
Why we need action cards filled
It helps us to see what actions people are committing to, so that we can measure the impact of the programme and find out where our Dementia Friends are coming from. They allow us to see and measure the difference you as Champions are making to the lives of those affected by dementia. The cards also give people the opportunity to stay in touch with us, if they would like to receive information about other ways to get involved, because becoming a Dementia Friend doesn’t have to end with an Information Session. For example, if they’re interested in campaigning, we can let them know about national campaigns they can get behind. If they’ve chosen to volunteer, we can let them know about local opportunities.
Opting in or out of more information
However everyone has to opt in to receiving this information by ticking the box on their action card. If people prefer not to receive any further information, they can choose not to tick it and that means they will not be contacted by anyone after their Session. In fact, if they do tick it and change their mind later, they can opt-out at any time with the click of a button (found on each email).
We would love as much information as possible to be completed on the cards so we get a good picture of who our Dementia Friends are, but they are still optional and it’s fine if your participant(s) decide that they don’t want to. They should still receive their badge and count as a Dementia Friend.
Suggestions for actions
If people are worried about what action they could take, try suggesting some very simple actions, such as thinking about their language (trying not to use the term ‘dementia sufferer’), being more patient if they see someone in the community who is struggling or wearing their badge. It’s taking these kinds of action that makes someone a Dementia Friend, not completing the action card.
Finally, remember that becoming a Dementia Friend is voluntary – it is okay if people choose not to become a Dementia Friend during your Session. You don’t need to give these people an action card or a badge.
I hope this help, and as ever if you would like to talk about this further do please get in contact with your DFO.