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How Dementia Friends Raises Awareness By Building a Community of Support with Badges

21 May, 2019

Our brains control almost everything we do, say, feel and think. Unfortunately, there are illnesses that affect different parts of the brain, which in turn can cause a person to have trouble remembering, thinking and speaking. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by these diseases.

There are many types of dementia – the most common being Alzheimer’s – which affects the brain at different rates and in different ways. Today, there are more than 850,000 people living with dementia across the UK, with numbers set to rise to more than 1 million by 2025.

Living with dementia can be an incredibly isolating experience, and many of those affected feel cut off from their community and end up facing dementia alone. The public’s understanding of dementia tends to be quite poor, which in turn can lead people with dementia to feel misunderstood, marginalised and less likely to live independently within their communities.

Dementia Friends, an Alzheimer’s Society initiative, helps create a climate of kindness and understanding by raising awareness of what it’s like to live with dementia and showing people what they can do to make a difference. People who sign up to become Dementia Friends learn more about dementia, either through online videos or in-person at Information Sessions, and the small ways they can help in the community. Supporters also have the option to become a Dementia Friends Champion, which means running Dementia Friends Sessions for people in their networks or communities and further spreading the awareness and understanding of dementia.

Taking Action with Rocket Charities

When people sign up to become a Dementia Friend, they receive more information about how to help someone living with dementia, as well as a specially-designed Dementia Friend badge.

The badges serve as a symbol to show support for the Dementia Friends movement. To create the eye-catching badges, Dementia Friends England & Wales teamed up with Rocket Charities, who then transformed the charity’s iconic forget-me-not, a small blue flower that represents remembrance, into bright, colourful, rubberised badges. Since everyone who becomes a Dementia Friend receives a badge, creating a cost-effective badge of high quality is a key component of the badges’ success.

To manufacture a budget-friendly badge that supporters would be proud to wear, Dementia Friends works closely with their dedicated account manager at Rocket Charities to oversee the design and production of the badges. The badges are then manufactured in Rocket Charities’ SMETA-audited factories and shipped off to Dementia Friends to be gifted to supporters.

Building Awareness & Bridging Relationships with Badges

The colourful badges not only serve as an incentive and token of appreciation for those becoming Dementia Friends, but also as a way to build awareness and a sense of community. Dementia Friend badges aren’t available for purchase. Instead, the only way to receive a badge is to become a Dementia Friend online or in the community by attending and Information Session. The badge helps provide additional motivation for joining the initiative, while also giving Dementia Friends a practical way of spreading awareness.

By wearing the badge, Dementia Friends can show support for the movement and stand out as someone who has an understanding of dementia. The bright badges also are a great conversation starter and encourage people to talk about dementia and the role that people can play in making their communities a dementia-friendly place to live.

The Dementia Friends programme has proved incredibly popular across the UK, with more than 2.8 million people registered as Dementia Friends – a number that continues to rise year after year.

Will you be the next Dementia Friend? Become a Dementia Friend today and start giving back to your community!

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