Nov 12, 2012

Will Dementia Friends Become a Worldwide Movement?

Not only will Dementia Friends become a Worldwide movement, it will help eliminate the stigma attached to Alzheimer's and Dementia Worldwide.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Will Dementia Friends Become a Worldwide Movement?
The Dementia Friends plan is being launched by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron in concert with the Alzheimer's Society.

The program is designed to change the way society thinks about dementia and persons living with dementia in the U.K.

When I first read about this new program I started discussing it with others I know in the Alzheimer's community.

I was surprised to learn that they didn't think it was going to be possible to recruit 1,000,000 volunteers for the program. I beleive they can, I know they will. I'll describe my rational below.

I was not completely surprised when some in the U.K. started writing negatively about the program. Some said it was the wrong approach, others complain it doesn't do enough, or should have an entirely unrelated agenda. I couldn't disagree more. I might add the announcement of the program was met with almost unanimous praise.

The Dementia Friends program is simple and straightforward:

Dementia Friends aims to make everyday life better for people with dementia by changing the way the nation thinks, talks and acts.

The goal of Dementia Friends is to involve an entire nation, an entire society, in understanding how dementia works, and how persons living with dementia feel.

Dementia Friends will end the stigma that is now attached to dementia patients.

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Albert Einstein wrote:

“The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.”

Many believe he was talking about how money compounds. In fact, he was talking about the how the compound interest and knowledge of mankind compounds.

Dementia Friends will draw on the compound interest of an entire society. It will change dementia from a medical only problem, into a societal problem. And then society will change the way they think about persons living with dementia. It will unleash a tidal wave of compassion, caring, and empathy. All of which already resides within us.

For those who think 1,000,000 volunteers is ambitious consider this.

The Alzheimer's Society has already received the funding to complete this mission.
  • Round One. The Alzheimer's Society will train and educate the first 6,000 dementia friends.
  • Round Two. The 6,000 will be charged with training others. For this model lets assume that each dementia friend trains five people. 5 times 6,000 equals 30,000. Plus the original 6,000 equals 36,000.
  • Round Three. Each of the 36,000 dementia friends trains five new people. 180,000 plus 36,000 equals 216,000 dementia friends.
  • Round 4. 216,000 train five new dementia friends. 1,080,000 plus 216,000 equals 1,296,000 dementia friends.

The biggest onus will be on the original 6,000 friends who will be required to train a grand total of 15 new dementia friends.

That my friends explains how the compound interest of mankind can create a movement.

As for those who are complaining about the program. Relax. Try and imagine what a million kind, compassionate, loving people might be able to accomplish when organized.

The sky is the limit for dementia patients and their caregivers living in the U.K.

What are friends for anyway?

The program will take root around the world. Be patient.

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Bob DeMarco
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The ARR knowledge base contains more than 4,600 articles with more than 350,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room