With the Alzheimer’s Society predicting that more than 1 million people will be living with the condition by 2025, the likelihood of ourselves or a member of our family being affected by some form of dementia has never been greater.
As an ageing population we have to accept that the needs of our society are changing and we, as individuals, as communities and as businesses need to react and adapt to this.
Together we need to find ways in which we can help people living with dementia feel valued, understood and able to participate in everyday life.
It’s something that I feel passionately about and something we, as a business, are determined to address. That’s why we’ve joined Bristol Dementia Action Alliance in its bid to make Bristol a ‘Dementia Friendly City’ and we’re calling on businesses, individuals and organisations across the city to get involved too.
The creation of Dementia Friendly cities, towns or communities is part of Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friend’s campaign – the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia.
At the heart of the Dementia Friends campaign is a wish to help people understand the myriad of ways that the condition can affect those living with it, from the impact on long term memory, to difficulties with balance, language and even vision.
We have offices across Bristol and enjoy being part of our local communities. But as solicitors we’re in a position of trust and it’s vital that we are able to accommodate the needs of our clients as fully as possible.
What we needed was a practical insight into what dementia was, how it affected those with the condition and advice on how we could support them, and that’s exactly what the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends sessions provide.
All our client-facing employees have had the chance to attend a Dementia Friends session, and it’s now part of our induction programme for new employees.
Following the sessions we’ve put in place practical steps to support clients including creating dementia friendly versions of key pieces of literature and making our offices more accessible – for instance we’ve installed red footprints on the floor, leading from the front door through to the reception area.
Most importantly we now all have a better understanding of how the condition affects people, and how we can support them.
I know that it’s already made me better at my job and better at understanding the needs of some of my clients, as well as their families.
We’re so passionate about the cause that we are now offering to host Dementia Friends sessions for other businesses in our local communities.
It’s so easy to become a Dementia Friend and it’s something we are urging everyone in Bristol to do, whether you are an individual wanting to support family or friends, a business in the local community or a club or association.
For us, it’s the right thing to do. We believe it’s our duty to make sure that people can access our services and enjoy and manage their lives, with confidence and dignity.
Anna Molter is an Associate Solicitor at Barcan+Kirby