National Trust unveils dementia-friendly campaign
Simon Stephens, 21.10.2019
Organisation has joined forces with the Alzheimer’s Society
The National Trust has announced an initiative to work with Alzheimer’s Society to make its 500 historic and countryside sites dementia-friendly.
The plan will give the trust’s 9,000 staff and 65,000 volunteers the chance to be involved in the Alzheimer Society’s Dementia Friends programme to change people’s perceptions of the condition.
The partnership will focus on upskilling the 74,000 people who work and volunteer for the National Trust; improving the accessibility of trust sites for visitors; and improving internal policies and processes to support members of staff and volunteers who may be affected by the condition.
Improvements at properties will feature better signage and modifications to materials used on paths and car parks. Other plans include taking heritage to local care homes, hospitals, day centres and community groups, and leading the drive for more dementia-friendly communities by hosting awareness raising activities.
“Dementia is the greatest health concern of our time, so it is important that people living with the condition can continue to enjoy a positive and fulfilling life,” said Tiger de Souza, the National Trust’s volunteering and inclusion director. “We also know that our natural and historic places can play a significant role in improving the wellbeing of people living with dementia by helping to stimulate discussion and memories.”
The trust says that about 7% (around 150,000) of National Trust supporters over the age of 65, including its volunteers, staff and members, may be living with the condition. This is in line with research from Alzheimer’s Society showing that one in every 14 people in the UK aged 65 and over has dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Society is publishing a new guide to help tourism businesses make themselves more dementia-friendly.