Basil The Therapy Dementia Dachshund Is Now Officially A Dementia Friend

I’ve been meaning to get more involved with the dementia organisations, and support the admirable work they do for dementia. With that in mind, I signed myself up to attend a Dementia Friend Session at the Farnham Maltings.

I took my scruffy wire-haired dachshund Basil along with me, besides he is a ‘Therapy Dementia Dachshund’ and I needed to make sure he is up to speed with all the latest dementia info! We walked in and was instantly welcomed by Alistair the Dementia Friend Champion who was heading the session.

Basil and I made our way towards the back of the room and sat with Belinda and her family. Alistair introduced himself, and then after issuing us all with name badges, came that dreaded moment, when everyone has to take it in turns and talk about themselves and the reason for attending the session. I explained I was a specialist dementia hairdresser and Basil was a therapy dog, blah blah, and then we had to finish with the scenario, if you were on a magic carpet and could fly off anywhere in the world where would you go?

I already had it in my head exactly where I wanted to go, but having listened to some of the humble answers of my fellow would be dementia friends, Norfolk, Cornwall, Devon, maybe I should playdown my reply, until one chap piped up ‘the whole stretch of route 66’ so when it came to my turn, Mauritius or the Seychelles seemed marginally less pretentious!

It was an emotional afternoon, listening to families trying to make sense of what they and their loved ones were going to have to deal with in the months and years ahead.

The whole group were involved in various scenarios to grasp an understanding of how life can be for a person living with dementia and what to expect from that person.

Unless you have first hand experience in knowing about the different types of dementia, it’s a hard pill to swallow.

Alistair was an informative, knowledgeable dementia friend champion, who delivered the session with great compassion. I did get the feeling that it left quite a few of the attendees feeling more dementia aware and prepared for what lies ahead. When the session had finished, we were presented with our dementia friend badges, Alistair had a quick photo taken with Basil, and thanked us for coming.

I would urge anyone that has been affected by someone you know living with dementia, or if you just want a better understanding, then please attend one of these sessions. They are hosted locally and last approximately an hour.

With over 850,000 people in the UK diagnosed with dementia, showing support by attending a session and becoming a dementia friend helps the Alzheimer’s Society programme, to change people’s perceptions of dementia, and transforming the way the nation talks and acts about the condition. The charity is aiming to create more businesses and communities to become dementia friendly, so that people affected by dementia are understood and included in society.

For more information visit alzheimers.org.uk

Karen Woodger
Founder Hair, Care & Dementia