Politicians sign up as Dementia Friends

Launch of Dementia Friends initiiative - (from left)  Geraldine Ditta (Policy and Engagement Manager with Alzheimer Scotland),  and MSPs Rhoda Grant, Carrie Tran (Office of Gail Ross MSP), Donald Cameron, Maree Todd and David Stewart

Launch of Dementia Friends initiiative - (from left) Geraldine Ditta (Policy and Engagement Manager with Alzheimer Scotland), and MSPs Rhoda Grant, Carrie Tran (Office of Gail Ross MSP), Donald Cameron, Maree Todd and David Stewart

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Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs joined forces to sign up and become Dementia Friends in Inverness last week.

Labour’s Rhoda Grant and David Stewart joined Donald Cameron (Conservative) and Maree Todd (SNP) pluis staff members to become Dementia Friends in a bid to raise awareness of dementia and create dementia friendly communities.

The politicians also met with Walter Grant, a member of the Highland Dementia Working Group.

The event was arranged after Rhoda Grant was approached by Geraldine Ditta, policy and engagement manager with Alzheimer Scotland, to help publicise the work Alzheimer Scotland does in trying to help people understand dementia and create dementia friendly communities.

The Dementia Friends session took place at the Dementia Resource Centre in Strothers Lane, Inverness, last Friday with MSPs.

There are currently over 31,000 Dementia Friends throughout Scotland.

Geraldine Ditta said “Dementia is the country’s biggest health and social care challenge. With approximately 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland, with about 8,000 of those living in the Highlands, Islands and Moray, dementia is everyone’s business.

‘‘People living with dementia and carers talk of their social circles diminishing so they are at risk of becoming socially isolated and disconnected from their local communities. Becoming a Dementia Friend is a way for individuals and communities to support those living amongst them, friends, neighbours to live as well as possible with dementia. Sometimes it’s the smallest thing that can make a big difference.”

Rhoda Grant said “I am delighted to become a Dementia Friend and have encouraged all other MSPs throughout the Highlands and Islands to do the same. It is great that we have come together on a cross-party basis to raise awareness of dementia which affects so many people in all of our communities.”

David Stewart said “It was a first class awareness raising event which has changed my perception towards dementia. I am delighted to now be a Dementia Friend.”