Staff at Hibberts Solicitors will learn how to support clients and colleagues living with dementia as part of national Dementia Awareness Week which begins this week (May 14th).
Led by local dementia champion Ben Selby, the session at their Nantwich office will give them an insight into what it’s like for people living with the disease, the symptoms and the support available to people with dementia.
Supported by the Alzheimer’s Society, the Dementia Friends initiative aims to create ‘dementia friendly’ communities where people with the condition are understood, and the information sessions are open to all businesses, clubs and groups.
Ben, managing director of local home care company Right At Home South Cheshire, said: “Dementia Friends is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia, and so far we at Right at Home have created 140 dementia friends in the Crewe and Nantwich area with more sessions taking place regularly.
“The session will give the staff at Hibberts a basic level understanding of what it’s like to live with dementia and to understand how they could deal with the situation in the community and as an individual.
“Being based right in the centre of Nantwich, Hibberts staff could come into contact with someone who may be showing symptoms, or perhaps with people or families who may want to make a will or lasting power of attorney. This session will give staff a good foundation to understand Dementia and signpost them to local support services.
“It’s also a good exercise for the staff within a business, as every time I’ve delivered a session there is always someone in the room who is affected by dementia in some way, either as a carer or they know someone with it.
“There is a lot of confusion surrounding dementia. Alzheimer’s is one type of dementia and accounts for 70 per cent of cases, but there are actually over 100 different types, and if people understand which type they’re dealing with, they can understand how it may affect that person.
“It’s also not just something that affects the elderly. Dementia is not a natural part of ageing, it is a disease, but often people don’t think about it that way in the same way as heart disease or cancer.”
There are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and 45,000 are under the age of 65. These numbers are set to rise to a staggering one million by 2025.
Camille Renaudon, a partner at Hibberts who is attending the training session, said: “ We are often asked by people what support services there are locally for people with dementia, so I’m hoping to find out more about those.
“As solicitors we also have to remember that people with medical conditions, not just dementia, can have good and bad days, so it’s important to meet with them in an environment where they feel most comfortable.
“I have met with clients in our office and it can feel quite unsettling and intimidating for them, and often they won’t have as good a recollection of things as when I see them at home, so that’s something we try to bear in mind.
“All of our Nantwich reception staff, secretaries and fee earners from the private client department will be coming to the session with Ben, as usually we find it is our receptionists and secretaries that are the first port of call for people coming to us, so it’s important for everyone to be aware of the signs and symptoms and how they can help.
“This is the first time we’ve run something like this and everyone has been very positive about it. With it being national Dementia Awareness Week it was the perfect time to for us to host this.”
If you or your organisation would like to find out more about becoming a Dementia Friend visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk
For information about the full range of legal services offered by Hibberts Solicitors log on to www.hibberts.com