10,000 and rising…

Nikki Squelch - Head of Volunteering Development at Alzheimer's Society

Nikki Squelch – Head of Volunteering Development at Alzheimer’s Society

I’m the Head of Volunteering Development at Alzheimer’s Society and I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has registered their interest in Dementia Friends.

There has been an astonishing response to the announcement of the initiative on 8 November. Over 5,000 of you registered your interest on the first day. That number keeps on rising; at the time of writing, we’ve almost reached the 10,000 mark! There are also 1,175 followers on Twitter (@dementiafriends), 1,279 Likes on Facebook, and the Dementia Friends film has been viewed an amazing 15,343 times.

And, as I’m sure you know, the Dementia Friends announcement got some great media coverage, including 170 national and regional TV mentions, 23 pieces of national and regional print coverage, and a diary piece from Lynda Bellingham, who narrated the Dementia Friends video, in Yours magazine.

The scale of this response shows that many, many of us are not only concerned about dementia, but want to know more about what we can do to make a difference for people living with dementia.

Here at Alzheimer’s Society, we’re testing all aspects of the initiative, preparing for its full launch early next year. We want to develop an exemplary and sustainable volunteering model that will allow us to create a network of a million Dementia Friends in communities across the land by 2015. And you can help us to do this. We’ll send you an update every couple of weeks, and we’ll ask for your opinions and ideas as we head towards the launch.

I’m responsible for the part of Alzheimer’s Society that’s developing training for Dementia Friends Champions, the volunteers who will be running awareness sessions to recruit Dementia Friends from their communities and networks. We’ll be keeping you posted about what we find out from the pilot training sessions.

In the meantime, please continue to tell your family and friends about Dementia Friends, and encourage them to get involved.

Nikki Squelch
Head of Volunteering Development, Alzheimer’s Society

10 thoughts on “10,000 and rising…

  1. Sue Dyke

    The response to Dementia Friends is great news and is so important in the next steps of helping not only those with dementia, but also getting people to understand that the person they see is ‘a person’, someones mum, dad, husband or wife etc and how it could so easily be one of their family members. Since the loss of my dad in August to this cruel disease I have vowed to help and support those with dementia and their families in whatever way I can. I hope more people sign up to dementia friends over the coming months.

  2. Pauline Conway

    Support to families is so important people’s lives are turned upside down giving carers access to people who know how dementia effects families and respite is so important. Sometimes as a carer you feel desperate. My mum died but I want to help others I know how it is. I remember some family and freinds stopped coming to see her they didn’t understand it was very sad. I want to help change how others react to this sad disease so many suffer from.

  3. Louise Hewitt

    Alzeimers affects so many families in so many ways, its no pleasent circumstance to be in when you see a loved one slowly slip into a stranger that in the same instance, thinks you as a stranger, not to mention forgetting life skills that we never even think about on a daily basis. Many people find it hard to understand and its also too much like a lost cause for others, but with the help of a great, trained team of people who will have a full understanding ,perhaps this will be a step in the right direction. We must remember it could always be us. How would we like to be treated:)) Looking forward to the updates and carry on please with the fabulous commitmentx

  4. Shelley

    I am in my last year of my nurse training and will hopefully gain my first post in medicine for older people in september next year,

    There is a huge stigma attached to this area of practice, Mental illness in general is portrayed in a poor light in society often due to the media,

    many nursing colleagues express disbelief when i state that this is where I wish to practice.

    As a Dementia friend i will feel empowered to encourage more people both professionals, families/carers and the wider public to see the person this disease process overshadows.

    I want for people to see my loved one and continue to look for them, not just label them difficult , challenging and non compliant, (lets keep trying to find out why) i want my family receive the best care we can offer and by extension as a nurse i will advocate the same be true people in receipt of my care.

  5. Blueindigo

    It’s insidious. First there was the lack of interest, despondency and drop in communications. Then a gradual withdrawal from life. Then there were the inappropriate remarks, the lack of concentration, lack of
    initiative and inability to do simple things for himself. My dad is changing and has lost his joie de vivre. My mum cries with the loneliness and the change in her relationship with him. She has to do everything. Every day brings something new. Every night she doesn’t know how often he’ll get up, maybe get dressed, go downstairs confused about the time. Today he told me he had made a card (Xmas) for me and my brother and sisters but he couldn’t find a baby Jesus to put on it. (He attends a Community centre now on a Friday). This is my Dad the former professor. I weep with grief.

  6. Elaine Lindfield

    I write both as a professional lead for dementia in an NHS Trust, and as the daughter of someone with dementia. A great many staff have family members with dementia and therefore have the empathy, and understanding, to provide support. Within the NHS great strides are being made to advocate for, screen, and provide the care needed for those with dementia. Educational programmes are delivering the information and tools that will enable very willing, but previously poorly informed, staff to do their very best. My mother fluctuates with the effects of vascular dementia. Thankfully, most of the time she laughs her way through the frustration of words and memories eluding her, and with the love and support of those around her, is ‘living well with dementia’. This is what we aspire to for everyone.

  7. carol Gee

    I am a professional Social Worker in an Adult Assessment Team. My colleagues and I experience on a daily basis the devastating effects of dementia on both individuals living with dementia and their families and carers.
    As a team we have access to trained professionals who deliver excellent support and make a real difference. However, the dementia friends project will make a tremendous difference in the areas where formal support is lacking. I have registered as a dementia friend and will encourage as many others to do so as possible.

  8. Martyn

    As a carer for my mother who has Vascular Dementia, I understand first hand what people have to go through caring for someone with this cruel disease, and how it affects the sufferer. I had no hesitation registering with Dementia Friends, and look forward to helping others understand and live with dementia. Many people do not understand the disease and often shy away from those who have it, this neither helps the sufferer nor their families, who like myself are often their carers.

  9. Katherine Hebron

    God bless everyone. My Mother has dementia. It really hurt to see your love one in this way. I pray for her and visit her. She is in a nursing home now. She really needs our visit now more so than ever. I pray for everyone and ask God to bless them. This is for everyone.

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