Ask your DFO : Shorter Information Sessions

Ask your RSO MidlandsEach month, one of our DFOs (Dementia Friends Officers) answer one of your Dementia Friends Champions questions. Ian Hind, DFO for the East Midlands, answers this month’s question: Dementia Friends 

Can I run an Information Session in a shorter time?

Wherever possible we would prefer the standard information Session (45 – 60 min) to be run. However, sometimes an organisation or community group only has 30 minutes to give you. In which case, the struggle is how to keep to the time, and how to change the Session plan.

So I will point out some key components of the Information Session, which would ensure a shorter Session while still delivering the important messages.

After the introductions, housekeeping and initial discussion about what Dementia Friends is, you can deliver what we call a ‘Five Key messages’ activity – through either Bingo or Broken Sentences. This is important as, without this activity we wouldn’t get our audience to understand the 5 key things we want them to take away.

The Bookcase Analogy will help participants understand how dementia can affect someone, and as you will have experienced yourself, is a very powerful explanation.

You can then either deliver the ‘Who’s Right?’ or ‘Making a nice cup of tea’ exercise, which we call a ‘Personal reflection activity’. This gets your audience to reflect on how they see and perceive the uniqueness of dementia, and the risks of assuming what a person can or cannot do. This sets you up nicely to turn understanding into action and invite participants to become Dementia Friends.

It is important that people are able to engage in the Session, irrespective of time limitations. Hence we have carefully looked at the Session plan to retain the key components for you to use. However, I would suggest if you are constrained to deliver in a shorter time, get in touch with your DFO. They can work with you through the session plan, to adapt it, and give tips, to deliver it in time, while ensuring the key messages are not lost.

4 thoughts on “Ask your DFO : Shorter Information Sessions

  1. Maureen Chivers

    Ian’s key components sound to me like the whole session. I know that I make a lot of the bookcase analogy and could probably pare it down so that it doesn’t take as long, but I struggle to see how you could do all the activities, continuing to make them interactive, in less than 45 minutes. However, I would echo his advice to contact your RSO if you need to deliver a shorter session. My RSO has given me helpful advice in anticipation of that happening.

    1. Dementia Friends Post author

      Hi Maureen, many thanks for your comment. Yes indeed I was exploring the components of the information session, though not to suggest that they all need to be delivered in a short space of time, but to highlight what the different outcomes are of the components to help champions understand it is not as easy as just missing a bit out. We do have shorter session plans which have been carefully arranged to cover the outcomes as best as possible in the shorter time and you are quite right in identifying your RSO can support with this.

      Hope that clarifies the message of the post.

      Thank you,


  2. Alan G. Richardson

    Regards the shorter Sessions, have delivered several of these- which have usually been as part of team meetings – prior to start of opening hours for branches of a Bank. Prior to arranging these , had shorter versions sent and then supportive discussions with RSO. Found that there was still opportunity for developing understanding and really positive engagement around 5 key messages and Bookcase. There has also been on going support and following a session one of the branches is having a Dementia Awareness Day next week.

  3. Cathy Williams

    I didn’t get an answer to the original question from this article. It’s impossible to deliver all of that in 30 minutes. The things I have considered when short of time is just giving explanations for the 5 key messages after the bingo game or broken sentences. Also broken sentences tends to take less time to deliver than Bingo. I know it’s not ideal but I’ve sometimes had to cut out the little session about what people consider is Dementia Friendly and go straight into an explanation of the mailer encouraging completion.

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