A light bulb moment

When a customer came in to speak to Francesca Hartley, Neighbourhood Coordinator for a housing association in Brighouse, she put what she had learnt at a Dementia Friends Session to good use. Francesca tells us her story:


‘After attending a Dementia Friends Information Session, I had a light bulb moment this morning.

‘A customer came in saying he had lost his key to his bungalow, this isn’t anything new. When the reception staff did some digging the tenant mentioned that he had no furniture in the bungalow and he thinks he was robbed and they locked the door on the way out.

‘I overheard the conversation so I asked the reception staff to look on our system to see if they had any alerts for vulnerabilities or next of kin. There was nothing on the system so we asked him for details to update our system. He couldn’t remember his daughter’s number or where she worked. We contacted the police for any details as I thought that something wasn’t stacking up. When we spoke to his daughter we found out the tenant has dementia.

‘We organised a lock change for later that day and we are keeping a key back in case this happens again!

‘If I hadn’t become a Dementia Friend I would never have thought that customer might be living with dementia. It definitely pays off being a Dementia Friend!’

15 thoughts on “A light bulb moment

  1. Jean.williams

    My husband is having test done at presant for dementia for the last 3years we were told it was depression , I was just wondering are there any badges to alert shop asst. and anyone else that he possibly has dementia , as when we are out some shop asst. may find him rude as he cannot answer them but when they here me say to to him don’t panic take your time then then realise that something isn’t quite right and most times treat him with respect ,

    1. Dementia Friends Post author

      Hi Jean – thanks for your message.

      I’m not aware of a badge specifically for that purpose I’m afraid. The Alzheimer’s Society shop does sell a range of badges though: http://shop.alzheimers.org.uk/search/?search=badge

      Furthermore, if you need any additional support or advice, Alzheimer’s Society can help:

      • The Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Helpline 0300 222 1122 can provide information, support, guidance and signposting to other appropriate organisations.

      • The Alzheimer’s Society website has lots of information, advice, fact sheets and other resources available: http://alzheimers.org.uk/

      • You could visit Talking Point, Alzheimer’s Society’s discussion forum for anyone affected by dementia: http://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/forum.php

      • You can search for local services in your area here: http://alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents.php?categoryID=200121

      Best wishes.

    2. Mandy Gough

      We have help cards that your husband could use. The cards can be carried in a wallet/purse or with a bus pass etc, you can put the persons name and any additional health conditions as well as an emergency contact. The wording comes in three options: I have Alzheimer’s disease; I have dementia or I have memory problems and is followed by : “I would appreciate your understanding”” and alerts the person reading it to the inside of card that has the orpportunity for more information to be added about how the person could be helped.
      If you contact your local service office I’m sure they could supply you with one.

    1. Dementia Friends Post author

      Hi Lynne – thanks for your message. You can get one of the badges when you become a Dementia Friend. There are two ways to become a Dementia Friend.

      The first is to attend a face-to-face Information Session in your area. You can search for one in your area here: https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/WEBSession#.VWWaH9JViko

      Alternatively, you can watch the video on our website and register to become a Dementia Friend, here: https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/

      Many thanks for your support.

  2. sdeg

    Please can I buy sticky labels with the Forget Me Not flower ONLY
    ie no writing or the word dementia

    I would find these useful to stick – for example on letters I write on behalf of sufferers I look after
    without having to blatantly point out the situation.

    With your education programme going wide spread soon everyone will recognise the flower!

    Will you let me know if I will be able to get these

    Thank you

    1. busby

      To say you don’t want to ‘blatantly point out the situation’ There is absolutely NO STIGMA attatched to telling anyone that a person has dementia. The more people who know the situation the more help and understanding will be given. I don’t want to appear aggressive but it makes me sad to think you are reluctant to be open about your very important role in dealing with dementia sufferers.

      1. julie

        I agree there is no stigma to having dementia however my mum was upset enough to hear the news from the consultant so for her to have a badge saying it would be awful for her however having a nationally recognised symbol such as the forget me not flower is a fabulous way to make people aware after all a picture paints a thousand words

  3. Majella Kavanagh

    Loved your story Francesca, really making a difference to someone’s life without negatively impacting on their experience, fab! Majella

  4. Suzanne Wells

    Hi I run a meeting for people over the age of 50 in Bradford I would love someone to come and share about the work of Dementia Friends we meet on a Tuesday 2-4 please could you put me intouch with a local representative that may be able to come and share I am already a Dementia Friend my Father has dementia so I know how important it is to make people aware of dementia i look forward to your reply.

    1. Dementia Friends Post author

      Hi – many thanks for your message – great to hear you are interested in getting your group involved with Dementia Friends. I will email you the Information Session request form and we can try and help arrange for one of our volunteer Dementia Friends Champions to come along to your meeting.

      Best wishes.

    1. Dementia Friends Post author

      Hi Margaret – thanks for your message. Sorry to hear you have not received your book and badge in the post, they can take up to 28 days to arrive. If it has been longer than that, please call our customer care team on 01245 454319 they will be able to investigate this for you. Many thanks for your support.

  5. julie

    Having done the dementia friends session I now have the training in my place of work for all my district nurses colleague tomorrow at the go surgery

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