Thamesdown drivers back Dementia Friends
Thamesdown Transport has signed up to the Dementia Friends campaign and 52 drivers so far have completed training to officially be recognised as a Dementia Friend.
The Dementia Friends initiative from the Alzheimer’s Society seeks to raise awareness of how people are affected by living with dementia and the ways in which anyone can help make their daily lives a little easier.
Driver instructors Paul Banham and Phil Bailey have been trained as Dementia Champions and as part of each driver’s customer service training, they deliver the dedicated dementia module. The training covers the common difficulties people experience, including memory loss, problems communicating and confusion about time and place, and what drivers should do in order to make travelling easier and a much less stressful experience. The Thamesdown Dementia Friends are identified by a blue flower badge.
“All of our drivers are encouraged to sign up to be a Dementia Friend,” says Peter Oliver, commercial director, Thamesdown Transport. “Having dementia can make people feel isolated and apprehensive about going out and so our drivers can spot the signs and make getting the bus easier, whether that’s giving them the time they need to board or use their ticket, or identifying when someone might be confused due to their dementia and helping them get where they need to be.”
Chris Atkinson, operations manager - south England, Alzheimer’s Society adds: ““Bus drivers understanding a bit more about dementia will ease the difficulties people with dementia face, supporting them to travel and live independently for longer.”