This week, from 18 to 24 May, marks the official Dementia Awareness Week, designed to generate awareness and support for those suffering from the long-term illness. Greater Manchester Police will be promoting dementia awareness this week in an effort to demonstrate their support. GMP aim to encourage those affected by the disease – whether personally or as family and friends of sufferers – to come forward and discuss their experiences.
Chief Inspector John Taylor said of GMP’s work for dementia sufferers: “Dementia has an increasing impact on our aging communities and we really wanted to do something different to coincide with the national dementia awareness week.
“Dealing with dementia can be extremely challenging and we have set ourselves the challenge of raising awareness and helping staff to deal effectively and sensitively with the difficult situations they are called to.”
Officers have been participating in training to enhance their understanding of dementia and its impact. Dementia Friends – an organisation devoted to raising awareness about the illness – hosted the first of these sessions. Additionally, 45 minute bespoke sessions are occurring in Rochdale to expose realities of dementia within the south Asian community there. It was founder of BME Health and Wellbeing and a community activist in dementia, Shahid Mohammed, who delivered these.
“I decided to set a campaign to engage with the BME and south Asian community in Rochdale and start a process of raising awareness of the dementia, provide help and advice to support services and other professionals. The police are a valuable part of our community and I am delighted to share my knowledge and experience with them,” Mohammed commented.
Alongside the training sessions leaflets created by members of GMP’s Jewish Federation are being distributed amongst the Jewish community, supported by the Jewish Security Trust.
Chief Inspector Taylor said: “This training is ground breaking for the police and benefits go beyond dealing with dementia. Understanding cultures and taboos helps us with community engagement, confidence in policing and community cohesion.”