This week’s guest blog post comes via Bupa UK, looking at the findings from their recent webinar: Building a Dementia Friendly Society. Let’s see what the Bupa UK team has to say…
How can the UK be more dementia inclusive?
One of the biggest steps we can all take in improving the lives of those living with dementia is building on our own understanding of the condition. Through intensive research, detailed discussion and a real desire to make positive changes, we can eliminate stigma and create a truly dementia inclusive society.
Bupa UK recently held a fascinating webinar with their Global Director of Dementia Care, Professor Graham Stokes, and the Director of the Dementia Services Development Centre, Professor June Andrews. Several different issues arose in the hour long discussion, which was split into three sections: building a dementia inclusive society, working age dementia, and consumer technology.
Watch the webinar now to listen to the discussion in full, and then read on for some of our key takeaways.
Our key takeaways
Here are what we found to be the most surprising, interesting and useful points:
On common misconceptions
A lot of myths were debunked. For example, not all people living with dementia are elderly; in fact, the odds of getting dementia are 1 in 100 for those in their 60s, and just 1 in 20 for those in their 70s. The main worry is not always memory loss either, as carers of those living with dementia have revealed that anxiety, agitation and sleeplessness raise bigger concerns.
On being dementia inclusive
There’s a difference between being ‘dementia friendly’ and ‘dementia inclusive’. Professor Stokes explained, “When I hear the term ‘dementia friendly’, and the need for training and education to deliver that, I don’t think anybody needs to be trained to be friendly. That’s part of the human condition. I’m far more in favour of using the term ‘dementia inclusive’.” Being able to sympathise and be sensitive is one thing, but being able to actually recognise, understand and help someone living with dementia to complete daily tasks with ease is on a whole other level.
On dementia in the workplace
As the number of people with working age dementia increases (by 2030, the number of people living with dementia is estimated to increase to 76 million, and the average age of retirement continues to rise), being equipped to help those living with dementia in the workplace is more important than ever. How can we do this? Professor Andrews advised, “Know and understand as much about dementia as you possibly can, and understand that everyone with dementia is different. So even though you may know a lot about dementia, the way it’s affecting [one person] might be quite unique.” At this stage in our lives, it can be up to ourselves to seek information and find out more, but when it comes to the younger generations, improving education at school could be key to eradicating stigma and prejudices, as well as increasing understanding.
Technology can help dementia in two ways: through research, and through assistive apps and programs that can help those living with the condition. There are ethical implications that need to be considered though, as Professor Stokes explained, “What I would never want to hear is that we are using technology to replace human relationships. Technology is going to be a means to improve the life of those living with dementia. Human relationships help people with dementia live better. It’s just another tool.”