This is not rocket science, and the organisations promoting the dementia friends messages and campaigns, need to start within so they are walking their own talk. There is not need to ‘sign up’ to anything, just start…
Take baby steps. They are not expensive and in fact, many cost no money at all, but they can make a huge difference to the lived experience of people with dementia.
All too often, these campaigns and initiatives are simply being used as the new gateway to an organisations own fundraising campaigns.
Below are a fey key first steps for any individual, organisation or community to consider;
- Always show respect
- Use Dementia Language Guidelines, the best currently produced can be downloaded here Alzheimer’s Australia full language guidelines 2014
- Ensure any media you work with always refer to the Dementia Language Guidelines
- Set up Local Dementia Advisory/Working Groups, in every community working towards becoming dementia friendly. The Kiama Dementia Working Group, is the only local group like this that I know if in the world.
- Employ people with dementia in this work, and in these campaigns, in the same way you would employ an IT expert for your IT issues
- Focus on what we can do in your campaigns, not our deficits
- Provide support for our disabilities, in the same way you already do, and are expected to by law, for other people with disabilities such as wheelchair ramps and hearing loops
By not ensuring people with dementia at the heart of this work, the stigma, discrimination, isolation and loss of our most basic human rights are simply continued…