Students at Bath College have started supporting an initiative to help make the Bath and North East Somerset are a more dementia friendly place to live.
The college has signed up to support Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) and has produced an action plan with key pledges.
As part of this, Level 1 students studying health and social care and childcare have completed Dementia Friends sessions.
There are around 4,500 people living with dementia in Bath and North East Somerset, and this number is predicted to rise in the future.
During the sessions, students learnt what it’s like to live with dementia and how to speak to people affected by memory loss.
Sarah Williams Martin, Chair of BaNES Dementia Action Alliance, said: “Our aim is to make the whole of Bath and North East Somerset dementia friendly, so it’s really important that organisations like the college get involved.
“A lot of students will be going on to work in care homes, and it will help them to have an understanding of dementia before that.
“They’ve all been given a Dementia Friends badge and we’re encouraging them to tell people about what they’ve learnt.
“We’re also running sessions in schools for young people. The idea is that if you empower young people, they won’t be afraid of dementia and it removes any stigma.”
First year student Trinity Collins said: “I found it really interesting listening to Sarah, she’s a volunteer and she’s using her own time to help people. It’s something that I’d be interested in getting involved in, that’s why I asked about work placements.”
The DAA works with businesses and organisations across England to help them review their procedures and become dementia friendly.
It is working with Bath College as part of the Bath Care Academy, set up to make sure students are prepared for a career in the health and social care sector.
There are also plans for students to work with retailers on a slow shopping scheme, introducing a dementia-friendly environment in store.
Care Academy Coordinator Sally Wilson said: “We’re working with our Care Academy partners to provide training and work experience opportunities, helping students to find employment and to learn more about the broad range of roles and career pathways within the sector.
“Dementia is an important issue for the health and social care industry, and we have signed a dementia pledge for all of our students to complete the sessions this year.
“A lot of our students will be undertaking work experience with those experiencing dementia. This deepens their understanding and gives them a head start.”