I love my mum and with working in the hospitality and pub sector and an obvious pub lover, I like to take her out for a meal or a lunch when we are together. I’ve taken it for granted for so long, something that’s so easy and natural, but now I’m not sure how long that will continue.
That’s because my mum has Alzheimer’s Disease. At the moment she can remember how to read the menu but sometimes she forgets what’s on it and often forgets what she has ordered. As the disease progresses she will become more nervous of different surroundings and intimidated by the simple act of going out.
But there is a way the hospitality sector or any customer facing business can make this much easier for people like my mum and their families. Its to get the people working in your pubs, restaurants, hotels and businesses to become Dementia Friends.
And before you ask, it won’t cost your business anything. All you need to do is give your staff the time to complete the simple 45 minutes to one-hour course either online or with a Dementia Friend Champion who can deliver it to a group of people.
I completed the Dementia Friends course at a local pub in Ipswich, The Dove Inn in May last year, two weeks after my mum’s diagnosis. What the course did for me was more than I ever imagined and made me realise that if we could get more and more people aware of how they can be when helping someone with dementia; the experience for everyone would be improved.
National pub operator Greene King got behind Dementia Friends over 6 years ago and Wadworth family brewer started training their teams and business partners this year. The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition.
Whether you attend a face-to-face Information Session or watch the online video, Dementia Friends is about learning more about dementia and the small ways you can help. From telling friends about the Dementia Friends programme to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts. What the training provides is how you can make a person with dementia and their carer more at ease in their environment. Understanding that it is not just their memory that is affected by this abhorrent disease but how their vision and rational thinking is impacted too.
So as a business or as an individual, if you can do one thing this summer, please get behind the Dementia Friends initiative and promote it in your business. You’ll be surprised how you see things differently and most of all what a difference it will make to carers like my dad was and people with dementia like my mum and to you delivering first class customer service.
For more information on Dementia Friends contact www.dementiafriends.org.uk
Cheers to Barney who was a real Dementia Friend, loved a pint and wonderful man.