Become a Dementia Friend at Alan Mak MP’s Older Persons Information Fair

Visitors to Alan Mak MP’s Havant Older Persons Information Fair this month will have the chance to become a Dementia Friend after the local MP teamed-up with community group Dementia Friendly Hayling to provide free sessions on the day.

Dementia Friendly Hayling is new group which is aiming to turn the Island into a Dementia Friendly Community, running friendly and interactive sessions to increase residents' understanding of the illness.

The two sessions at the Older Persons Information Fair, which takes place on Friday 13 October at the Hayling Island Community Centre, are at 11am and 1pm. No booking is needed and training is free.

Mr Mak, who became a Dementia Friend in 2015, encouraged residents to come on the day to find out more.

He said: “As we all live longer sadly Dementia is becoming more prevalent, with 850,000 people across the country suffering, an estimated 1 in 14 of over 65s. That’s why it is even more important for everyone to spot the signs of Dementia and find out ways to help people suffering from the illness.

“I hope these friendly and interactive sessions will increase residents' understanding of Dementia, and make people think about the small things that they can do to help people affected by dementia in our community.”

Dementia Friends was set-up in a joint project by the Department of Health and the Alzheimer’s Society, so far 1.7million people have taken part.

Dementia Friendly Hayling Coordinator, Dr Carolyn Popham from Northney, said: “Becoming a Dementia Friend helps people to understand what it is like to live with dementia, and encourages them to consider ways in which they might be able to be more supportive and inclusive.

“The aim of the initiative is to reduce stigma and enable those with the illness to continue to participate actively in their local community, continuing activities they enjoy for as long as possible. This benefits not only those living with dementia, but the whole community.”

Alan’s Older Persons Fair takes place from 10am to 2pm and will feature around 40 exhibitors who provide help, support or activities for older people – everything from public bodies to charities to community groups and clubs.

The Fair is open to everyone but is aimed at older people, their friends, family, neighbours and carers. Parking at the Community Centre is free. For more information and a full list of exhibitors visit alanmak.org.uk/OPIF