Emergency services celebrated for dementia friendly initiatives at Alzheimer’s Society awards

Following Alzheimer’s Society’s annual Dementia Friendly Awards on 27 November, three emergency services have been recognised nationally for their achievements in leading the sector by helping to support people with dementia to live safely in their local communities.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust and Cleveland Police were all shortlisted for either a large or small ‘Dementia Friendly Organisation of the Year’, two of nine categories at the sixth prestigious Dementia Friendly Awards that celebrate individuals, organisations and communities who are leading and inspiring change to transform the lives of people with dementia, challenge misunderstandings and alter attitudes around dementia.

Keeping safe and well is important to everyone, but it may be more of a concern if a person has dementia. For instance, people with dementia may find it harder to manage everyday risks and may forget to turn things off such as the oven or gas or become confused about how things work or where they are. These services have been commended for going above and beyond to support people affected in their community.

The shortlisting of the services coincides with the launch of Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly Emergency Services guide, which sets out best practice for emergency services looking to support and assist people with dementia. In 2017, emergency services across the UK made a strategic commitment to become more dementia friendly and support people in their local community affected by dementia. Since 2017, 28 services have signed up to become dementia-friendly and the sector now has over 35,300 Dementia Friends. The release of the guide will help support services across the nation in meeting this goal, and the three services shortlisted are showcased in this guide.

Dementia is the 21st Century’s biggest killer in the UK. Someone develops the condition every three minutes, but too many face it alone and without adequate support, even though two thirds of people with dementia live in their local community. Alzheimer’s Society is at the forefront of a movement to ensure everyone living with dementia is understood and included in society, with its Dementia Friends initiative being the largest of its kind, uniting over three million people to take action to change the way the nation thinks, talks and acts about dementia.

The three shortlisted services also help make up over 450 Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly communities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which are helping to ensure people with dementia are better able to live the life they choose and are involved in their local communities.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said, “There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and this number is increasing. Having emergency services that understand the complexities of dementia and can respond to often distressed and frightened individuals is a lifeline, so this recognition of the fantastic work of the three organisations, who have gone above and beyond to support people with dementia in their local communities, is thoroughly deserved.

“Defeating dementia will take a societal response, where individuals, organisations and whole sectors are changing the way they think, talk and act about dementia. I would encourage every other fire, ambulance and police service to take a look at our Dementia Friendly Emergency Services Guide to create even more change.”

Find out more about how to become a Dementia Friendly Organisation by visiting dementiafriends.org.uk/