Feb 22, 2015

1 Million Dementia Friends

The Alzheimer’s Society is celebrating what it claims to be the largest social movement for any disease as it reached its millionth “dementia friend”.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

1 Million Dementia Friends
Photo: The Guardian

I remember when I first read about it, and wrote about it, I was exhilarated.

In 2012, I wrote right here in the Alzheimer's Room:
Not only will Dementia Friends become a Worldwide movement, it will help eliminate the stigma attached to Alzheimer's and Dementia Worldwide.
And Jeremy Hughes said,
It is clear that if we are to truly tackle dementia head on, it requires a response from the whole of society.

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Then as I started discussing the program with others in the Alzheimer's community I wrote:
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.
On one hand, I was shocked that there was so much negativity; on the other hand, I understood that change doesn't come easily to many.

Back in 2012 I knew it would work. One million trained and willing volunteers. An army ready to fight dementia, assist those living with dementia, and destroy the stigma attached to Alzheimer's and related dementia.

How did I know it would work?

My mother had already attracted new dementia friends - Dotty Had Dementia Friends and They Are Wonderful People. At the time I called them the wonderful people. Well if my mother could attract new caring people without even trying -- what would happen if people tried?

I did the math for those who didn't believe it was possible. This is what I wrote in 2012.

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.
One Million Dementia Friends!

If you have the time I suggest you read these two very interesting articles.

Dementia Charity Tackles Stigma with Help from a Million ‘Friends’

A Million Dementia Friends Lead the Way that Society Must Follow

Alzheimer's Society
The Guardian
Department of Health
Dementia Friends

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