Dementia Friends training for cadets and officers in Northants

The emergency services cadets with Ann-Marie Lawson
The emergency services cadets with Ann-Marie Lawson

These young people have been learning about what it’s like to live with dementia so they can help people in their communities.

About 200 members of Northamptonshire Emergency Services Cadets (NESC) have undergone training through an Alzheimer’s Society initiative called Dementia Friends.

It helps people learn more about dementia and the small ways everyone can help.

Chief Inspector Julie Mead from Northants Police is a dementia champion through the scheme and delivered the Dementia Friends training to cadets across all six NESC units.

She said: “Dementia is a disease of the brain, but it is possible to live independently and well.

“The cadets were encouraged to come up with actions to help people in their community live well with dementia, thinking about how we can assist them and promoting understanding and engagement.

“All the cadets were very keen to see how they can help.”

Executive director at NESC Ann-Marie Lawson said that the cadets scheme is all about giving youngsters life skills.

She is really proud of them for completing the Dementia Friends training, and added: “It’s going to make that generation more aware.”

As well as the cadets, Julie has been training people in numerous departments across the force, including the neighbourhood teams and the county’s police and crime commissioner Stephen Mold.

Julie would love for all police staff to have the training as dementia is something that officers come across on a regular basis.

Another reason she is so passionate about the training is that dementia is a subject close to her heart.

She said: “On a personal level, I have seen how difficult it can be for people living with dementia in the community and their families.

“My mother-in-law is living with dementia and I have seen the impact it has on my husband.

“It has been really difficult for him over a number of years.”

She admitted that the training has been a ‘massive eye-opener’ for her and she is keen to share this with others, especially those in the police force and other emergency services.

Julie said: “With an ageing population, there’s going to be more people living with dementia.

“We need to be aware of it and understand it.

“Officers see it regularly.

“It’s about preparing communities and giving them that knowledge and understanding of how to help people living with dementia and give them the dignity and respect that they deserve.”