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, talks and acts about the condition. Dementia touches the lives of millions of people across the UK. Dementia Friends was launched to tackle the stigma and lack of understanding that means many people with the condition experience loneliness and social exclusion.
Dementia Friends is about learning more about dementia and the small ways you can help.
Alzheimer’s Society received funding from the Department of Health and the Cabinet Office to launch and support Dementia Friends for the first two years. We are now exploring other possible sources of funding, including donations from Alzheimer’s Society supporters, to support Dementia Friends in the long term.
Dementia Friends Champions report on the Dementia Friends website how many Dementia Friends they create. Those who become a Dementia Friend by watching the online video are automatically counted towards our total and organisations report back their numbers to us.
Alzheimer’s Society operates in England, Wales & Northern Ireland therefore these are the areas Dementia Friends covers.
This website lists Information Sessions for England and Wales only. If you are in Northern Ireland and want to get involved, please contact the Alzheimer’s Society in Northern Ireland.
If you are in Scotland and want to get involved, please see the Dementia Friends Scotland initiative website.
If you become a Dementia Friend online by watching the video, due to our funding, in order to register for the Dementia Friends pack you must use an England postcode.
There are lots of ways to get involved with Dementia Friends, whether you have a lot of time to give or a little:
Absolutely! A Dementia Friend or Dementia Friends Champion is someone who has a better understanding of dementia; will know how to act more sympathetically towards people with dementia in their communities and workplaces; and has committed to taking a practical action to help people with dementia, contributing to a dementia friendly community. From telling friends about the Dementia Friends programme to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts.
Dementia Friends is not a befriending initiative. Dementia Friends and Dementia Friends Champions should not be seeking relationships with people with dementia outside the relationships that they already have. A Dementia Friend or Dementia Friends Champion is not checked to see if they have a criminal record or otherwise vetted as a ‘safe' person for people with dementia.
If Dementia Friends or Dementia Friends Champions decide they'd like to take on a befriending or other role providing personal care to people with dementia, they can find out more about the training and support on the Alzheimer's Society website.
We work with all types of organisations from large to small across the private, public and third sector and support them to roll out Dementia Friends to their workforce.
There are a number of ways to get involved:
Over the last 2 years we have gained a good understanding of what works well and can support with your communications and employee engagement.
To find out how we can support you to make your organisation more dementia friendly please email DForgs@alzheimers.org.uk
There are two reasons why this is really important;
1. So that we can measure the impact you are having and so we know how close we are to reaching our target of 4 million Dementia Friends by 2020.
2. It provides you with some concrete information and figures to use to engage staff, thank staff and for any local/national press releases you may be looking to write.
There are two goals to the Dementia Friends initiative: increasing the number of people who have an understanding of dementia and turning that understanding into action. Our research shows that people with dementia can continue to live independently in their communities for longer, doing many of the things they have always enjoyed, if they have a helping hand and more people who understand dementia.
In order to register for an Information Session, you will need to log in to the Dementia Friends website. This allows Champions to know how many people will be attending their Sessions.
If you hear about an Information Session being run in your community but cannot register for it online, it may be best to contact the Champion prior to the Session starting to check they are OK with you are attending.
A Dementia Friends Champion is a volunteer who tells people about dementia, how it affects people's day-to-day lives, and how they can make a positive difference to people living with dementia in their community. It's easy to get involved if you meet our eligibility criteria.
To be a Dementia Friends Champion you need to:
No, you will get a chance to become a Dementia Friend during the Champions induction.
However, if you are unsure about the Champions role, it may be useful to attend a Dementia Friends’ Information Session first so that you can learn more about the initiative.
The Dementia Friends Champions role is designed to be flexible and let you deliver Dementia Friends Information Sessions at times that suit you. Typically, Champions run one or two Sessions a month. Each Session lasts approximately 1 hour and you need to allow time to prepare and plan them as well.
We know from experience that taking on a volunteering commitment is really difficult if you have lots of commitments already. If these are your circumstances, it could be that being a Dementia Friends Champion is not right for you at the moment. However, you can still become a Dementia Friend. If your circumstances later change, you would be welcome to become a Dementia Friends Champion in the future.
The Dementia Friends team will contact you with more information about the induction so you know what to expect on the day. You will also be asked to complete an e-learning module before you attend the induction to give you some basic information about dementia.
Unfortunately, there will be occasions where Dementia Friends Champions induction needs to be cancelled, for example due to low numbers of bookings. In this case, the Dementia Friends team will contact you as soon as possible and will offer an alternative date.
New Champions inductions dates are added to the website on a regular basis. You can search for inductions near you using your postcode or town. If there are no results then you will be prompted to enter your email address. This will allow you to receive notifications when inductions near you become available.
You can find detailed information on what will happen at the induction here
If you don’t feel comfortable giving presentations or passing on information about dementia to others, volunteering as a Dementia Friends Champion may not be right for you. Don't forget that you can still be involved in the initiative as a Dementia Friend and contribute to dementia friendly communities in ways that don’t involve public speaking.
You may not need to set up anything special to run a Dementia Friends Information Session. If you are already part of local networks, such as a book club or residents' association, then you could organise a Dementia Friends Information Session at one of your meetings, among a group of friends or at work. We hope that Dementia Friends Champions will reach as many people as possible, but small groups of friends or even sharing information one-to-one can still help us to reach new Dementia Friends.
We don't want to make being a Dementia Friends Champion a role that involves lots of administration, but we do need some basic information about your Dementia Friends' Information Sessions to know when and where they have taken place and how many Dementia Friends you have created. All of this information can be entered onto the Dementia Friends website, making it easy for you to provide it at a time that works for you.
Entering these details on the Dementia Friends website also means you can make your Information Sessions available to the public to book online and attend.
We encourage our Champions to hand out the Action Mailers at the end of each Session. The Mailers allow new Dementia Friends to tell us what action they are going to take to help those living with dementia. To find out more, please go to the Champions Session Resources section on the website.
During your Dementia Friends Champions induction, you will receive your Dementia Friends Champions handbook. In this book and on the Dementia Friends website, you’ll find all the resources you’ll need to run Dementia Friends Information Sessions – from activity sheets to guidance notes.
You’ll also find extra resources to make it easier to run your Information Sessions, such as template posters for advertising your Sessions and top tips for adapting your Sessions to different audiences.
We are always creating new resources to support Dementia Friends Champions, so you’ll have the chance to tell us what else would help you.
You will also receive the monthly Dementia Friends Champions e-newsletter. This features relevant news, tips and advice, success stories and other information to support you as a Champion.
After attending a Dementia Friends Champions induction, you will be assigned a Regional Support Officer, who is there to support you if you get stuck and answer any questions you may have. They can help you to get started with your Sessions, find other Dementia Friends Champions in your area and advise you on how to promote your Session.
Regional Support Officers also run Dementia Friends Champion events across the country, to allow volunteers to meet, share stories and learn more about the Dementia Friends initiative and local activity. They also run regular webinars on topics such as delivering Information Sessions to children or tackling tricky questions.
The role Dementia Friends Champion isn't right for everyone, so there is also a selection element to the Dementia Friends Champions inductions. You may decide after the induction that the role isn't right for you or the trainer may feel your skills and experience are better suited to getting involved in other ways. We will make sure you know how to be involved in the initiative as a Dementia Friend and about other ways you can help create dementia friendly communities.
Dementia Friends is not an initiative to provide personal care or befriending services – only to help others understand dementia better and take practical actions to help create dementia friendly communities. For this reason, a criminal record check (known as a DBS check) is not needed.
If a Dementia Friends Champion wishes to deliver a Dementia Friends Information Session to children or other vulnerable groups, they would need to be supervised appropriately, for example, by a teacher when delivering to school children.
If Dementia Friends or Dementia Friends Champions decide they'd like to take on a befriending or other role providing personal care to people with dementia, they can find out more about the volunteering opportunities, training and support provided by Alzheimer's Society.
A Dementia Friend is someone who has attended a face-to-face Information Session or watched our online video. They will have learnt a little bit more about what it's like to live with dementia and then turned that understanding into action. From telling friends about the Dementia Friends programme to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts.
Anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend – we all have a part to play in creating dementia friendly communities!
If in England & Wales you can become a Dementia Friend by attending a face-to-face Information Session.
To register for a Session you’ll need to create an account on the Dementia Friends website. After logging in you can then search for a Session near you and book on to one.
England only: those in England can alternatively become a Dementia Friend by watching our online video and registering for their Dementia Friends pack.
Scotland: to become a Dementia Friend in Scotland, you need to head to the Dementia Friends Scotland website. There you can register for a face-to-face Information Session or watch the online video.
Northern Ireland: To find out more about Dementia Friends in Northern Ireland, please contact your local Alzheimer’s Society office.
Please note: If you can no longer attend a Dementia Friends Information Session, you should cancel your space so that you are no longer expected at the Session.
To do this, log in to your Dementia Friends account and click ‘Unregister’ next to the Information Session details.
Anyone of any age can become a Dementia Friend and we want young people and school pupils to get involved either through their school, community groups or family and friends.
Young people are welcome to book on to a public Dementia Friends Information Session through the Dementia Friends website. They are then welcome to attend, as long as they are accompanied by an adult aged 18 or over.
Once you have registered for a Session, you will receive automatic confirmation of your booking.
Occasionally, there may be times where the Dementia Friends Champion needs to cancel their Information Session, for example, due to sickness. In this case, you will receive an email alerting you to the cancellation. You can then book onto the next available Session in your area.
Dementia Friends Information Sessions last approximately one hour and are run by volunteer Dementia Friends Champions, who organise these Sessions with support from the Dementia Friends team.
You can find lots more information on what happens at the Session here.
New Information Session dates are added to the website on a regular basis. You can search for a Session near you using your postcode or town. If there are no results then you will be prompted to enter your email address. This will allow you to receive notifications when a Session near you becomes available.
The Dementia Friends code is given to you at the end of your Information Session and can be found inside your Dementia Friends info card. You will need this code in order to enter your dementia friendly action on the website.
You don't have to commit to doing something time-consuming - every action counts. You might…
By sharing your action on the website or sending in your Action Mailer, you can inspire other people to take action too and help to show how together we can create dementia friendly communities.
It also helps us to see what kind of a difference Dementia Friends is making to the lives of those living with dementia.
If you have watched our online video and submitted your details, please be aware your Dementia Friends pack can take up to 28 days to arrive. If you do not receive your pack after 28 days, please call 0300 222 5855 and our customer care team will investigate this for you.
Please be aware the Dementia Friends pack is only available to residents of England.
In order to book on to a Dementia Friends Information Session in your area, you need to create an account. This will allow us to provide you with all the information you need prior to the Session and let you know if the Session changes or is cancelled. Once you have completed your Session you will be able to log in to your account and tell us your action.
Similarly, in order to book on to a Dementia Friends Champion induction you will need to create a Champion account. Once trained, your Champions account gives you access to all the resources you need to run your Dementia Friends Information Sessions.
If you cannot log in to your account, please click on the “Forgotten Password?” button on the sign in page and submit your registered email address. You will then receive a new temporary password via email. Follow the instructions given in the email. If you do not receive this, please check your “Spam” folder, as it may be in there.
If you are still not able to log in after completing this, please contact the Dementia Friends team for further assistance.
Click the ‘Forgotten Password’ button on the sign in page, enter your email address and tick the box that identifies you as the administrator for the organisation. You will then receive an email with a temporary password. Follow the instructions in the email and you will then be able to reset your password.
Don’t worry – you don’t need to register again. You can change your existing account type by logging in and clicking the “Convert to Dementia Friend”/”Convert to Dementia Friends Champion” button on the left side of the page.
Dementia is caused by a number of diseases that affect the brain. The most common is Alzheimer's but diseases also include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and Pick's disease.
Different types of dementia affect the brain at different rates and in different ways, but other things like someone's personal circumstances, the people around them and the environment in which they live, will affect their experience of dementia. Dementia progresses in a way that is unique to each individual.
Find out more
Everyone experiences dementia in their own way. Different types of dementia can also affect people differently. However, there are some common symptoms that are listed below.
Alzheimer’s Society offers lots of advice and support:
A Dementia Friendly Community is one in which people with dementia are empowered to have high aspirations and feel confident, knowing they can contribute and participate in activities that are meaningful to them.
Find out more
Establishing a local structure is the key to the success and sustainability of creating a Dementia Friendly Community. A local Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) is the recommended model as it enables the bringing together of individuals and organisations. Check if you have a Dementia Action Alliance in your local area. If you do not have a local Dementia Action Alliance find out how you can form one. Organisations can also be signposted to join the DAA individually.
Becoming a Dementia Friend or Dementia Friends Champion is an individual commitment and cannot be used as a kite mark for a group or organisation.
Having Dementia Friends is a great start but there are many more steps a business would need to take to work towards becoming a dementia friendly organisation. If you would like to explore ways in which your organisation could become more dementia friendly, please email firstname.lastname@example.org