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How you can get involved as a Champion

Community champions are at the heart of the movement. They bring people in communities together, raise awareness and inspire others to take actions to positively support the lives of people with dementia and their families.

Are you a community champion

  • who is passionate about dementia and wants to see your community be dementia inclusive
  • who can take on a leadership role and influence others in the community to take action
  • who will share knowledge and drive change throughout various community and business groups
  • who will link with other champions to increase the network and support one another

What you can do as a champion

  • Speak to councils, businesses, service providers, charities, social clubs, schools to raise awareness for dementia in the community
  • Convene information sessions for all groups and ask participants to define actions they can take
  • Show groups where they can access information and resources to support them
  • Build a network of champions which meet regularly to review progress in your community
  • Share your activities and learnings through media such as twitter or local press

What supports are available

  • Champions guide – Steps to take
  • Champions network which meets yearly to support and share knowledge
  • Videos, presentations and fact sheets on the Understand Together website
  • Free Online Training and face to face training options

Small steps can make a big difference as you lead your community towards being dementia inclusive. These 6 actions help you and others in your community to take the first steps

1.     See the person, not the dementia

A dementia diagnosis will bring change and some challenges to the person’s life. But dementia is only one part of their life. As a champion you can raise awareness within your community how important it is not to lose sight of the person and who they fundamentally are. This will affect all actions communities take towards becoming a dementia inclusive.

What you can do

  • Speak to people with dementia and their families. There are many dementia focus groups who can share their experiences of living with dementia.
  • Listen to people living with dementia and their families to help understand their perspective.
  • Communicate directly with the person with dementia. Be inclusive of them when speaking with other family members or in a group.
  • Support others in understanding that a person with dementia and their families are very much part of the community.
  • Increase awareness how everyone can play a role in making communities inclusive.

Helpful resources to get you started

  • Watch our Listen, Learn, Link dementia awareness video
  • Watch the real life stories of people living with dementia and their families
  • Tips on how to communicate with a person with dementia
  • Communication – Understanding changes in behaviour
  • Free online dementia awareness training
  • Tips on how to raise awareness for dementia in your community
  • Dementia Awareness presentation

2.     Talk about dementia

The more people know about dementia and how they can be involved in this movement the bigger the impact will be. Your role is to help raise awareness for dementia and share information to reduce the stigma that still surrounds dementia. As a community champion you engage with as many stakeholders as possible, speak out openly and encourage others to do likewise.

What you can do

  • See which community assets you have in your community and which groups could be open for a conversation about dementia
  • Engage with councils, businesses, service providers, charities, social clubs to promote dementia inclusivity
  • Raise awareness of dementia by organising awareness sessions in your community
  • Share knowledge and learning of how to be dementia inclusive
  • Share what you are doing for dementia inclusivity through media, such as Twitter, local press
  • Challenge stereotypes and negative attitudes about dementia

Helpful resources to get you started

  • Community asset tool to create a map of organisations, services and other groups in your community
  • Tips of how to hold an information session in your community
  • Dementia: Understand Together presentation for information sessions
  • Tips on how to raise awareness for dementia in your community
  • Dementia Awareness presentation
  • Information and promotional materials
  • Tips on how to communicate with person with dementia
  • Free online dementia awareness training

3.     Ask how you can help

Little things can make a big difference on the lives of people with dementia and their families. As a champion you can show others in the community how asking “may I help you”? can positively transform the day for a person. Only by asking will a community know how to support.

What you can do

  • Speak to people with dementia and their families. There are many dementia focus groups who can share their experiences of living with dementia.
  • Explore with others in your community aspects in life where a person with dementia and their family may need help and how each person or group can play a part in providing support
  • Listen to people living with dementia and their families to help understand their perspective.

Helpful resources to get you started

4.     Stay in touch

The importance of relationships can’t be overstated to those diagnosed with dementia and their families. It is vital not to shy away because of dementia and to continue being in touch, be it their neighbours, friends, service provider and community group. As a champion you can reiterate to members in your community how isolating the diagnosis of dementia can be and that inclusion will impact a person’s well-being.

What you can do

  • Remind others that the person is still the same and that relationships, interactions and interests do not need to end, just because dementia started
  • Explore with people in the community how they engaged with the person and their family before the diagnosis, and whether this has changed
  • If a person once attended a service / club etc but has since stopped, discuss what actions could support them to reengage
  • Encourage businesses or service to let people know of changes they made to be accessible

Helpful resources to get you started

5.     Support the person to keep up hobbies and interests

Keeping active and to enjoy hobbies is a vital part of life. To stay involved in community life and continue to socialise is similarly important for the person with dementia and their family. Dementia should not mean someone stops doing the things they love, but as time goes on, they may need support to do so. As a champion you can encourage others in your community to provide this support.

What you can do

  • Ask community groups, social clubs and service providers how they can ensure that a person with dementia and their family stay connected
  • Ask services, groups and clubs to ensure their surroundings are welcoming and inclusive
  • Discuss the importance of clear and easy to understand signage
  • Encourage stakeholders to share information on actions taken, so that people are aware of positive changes

Helpful resources to get you started

  • How to hold a dementia awareness talk in your community
  • Watch our Listen, Learn, Link dementia awareness video
  • How to include a person with dementia in your community (video)
  • Making businesses and services dementia inclusive.
  • 10 tips for dementia inclusive environment
  • Free online dementia awareness training

6.    Make sure your service/space is easy to use

As a champion you can work with councils, businesses and service providers to help them see their service and amenities through the eyes of someone with dementia.

This helps everyone understand the challenges a person with dementia may have when using services or accessing spaces. It may also change attitudes towards that person or what people do as a result.

What you can do

  • Talk to people with dementia and their families and find out what would help and support them
  • Encourage councils, businesses and service provider to include people with dementia and their family members in the design of new or existing services or spaces
  • Tip sheets for businesses and service providers can help them review their spaces and ensure they are welcoming and inclusive

Helpful resources to get you started

  • Leaflet containing information about how you can support your customers with dementia
  • 10 tips for dementia inclusive environment
  • Guide to accessible design principles
  • Free online dementia awareness training