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Buckinghamshire school trains every pupil to be a ‘Dementia Friend’

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A school in Buckinghamshire has become one of the first in the country to train every pupil to be a ‘Dementia Friend’.

All 350 pupils at Wendover CE Junior School has been trained as a ‘Dementia Friend’ and learnt about what it’s like to live with dementia. Many of the children have gone into local care homes and have spent one to one time with a resident living with dementia.

The training used materials especially adapted for children.

The children have now pledged to raise awareness of dementia and to help someone living with the condition. They were presented with a special certificate signed by Sir Jackie Stewart at a Dementia Action Week event in Wendover on Thursday 24th May 2018 to recognise their fantastic achievement.

The presentation event formed part of Dementia Action Week in Buckinghamshire which ran from Monday 21st to Sunday 27th May 2018.

Every year in Buckinghamshire there are up to 700 new cases of dementia, with more than 7,000 people living with the condition in the county.

It’s projected that 1 in 3 babies born now will live well beyond 100 years and while dementia is not a natural part of ageing it’s anticipated that more and more people will be diagnosed with dementia in the future.

Lin Hazell, Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: ‘I’m immensely proud that here in Buckinghamshire we have the first school in the country where every pupil is a Dementia Friend – a huge well done to all the pupils at Wendover Primary School.

Of course dementia is a frightening condition but I think we can all benefit from learning more about it. I think a lot of people still may not really understand many of the realities of living with dementia, including that you can still live well even with a dementia diagnosis.

We’ve had lots of great events going on all week in our libraries across the county to help people better understand dementia – I’m sure we can all do our bit to find out more about how we as individuals can help make life easier for sufferers too. It’s a reality that more people will be diagnosed with dementia here in Buckinghamshire in the future so equipping everyone for that is really important.

‘Dementia Friends’ is an initiative of the Alzheimer’s Society and is a key part of the Government’s ‘Ageing Population’ strategy to significantly increase the understanding of dementia amongst all groups including the very young.

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