Bournville Village Trust is to train hundreds of its staff to recognise the signs and symptoms of dementia in response to rising rates of the condition in Birmingham.
The charitable Trust and housing association, which provides homes and services to 25,000 people in Birmingham and Shropshire, will train all 350 employees over the next two months.
Plumbers, gas engineers, customer service and housing staff will be amongst those attending sessions where they will learn how to spot possible signs of dementia as well as gain awareness of where to signpost people for support.
The training comes as it is estimated that the number of people in Birmingham with the condition is expected to rise by 18 per cent to around 16,000 by 2021*.
Currently, it is believed that 14,000 people in the city are living with dementia which typically affects a person’s memory, behaviour and communication skills.
Renny Wodynska, Director of Supported Housing at Bournville Village Trust, said: “Being aware of the signs and symptoms of dementia and how these may affect individuals, as well as where to signpost people for support, will help us to better support our residents.
“All staff have already attended Dementia Friends sessions to get an understanding of the condition, but this additional training will ensure they have the skills and knowledge to really make our organisation dementia-friendly.
“Many people believe that a diagnosis of dementia signals an end to their life as they know it, however with the right support and understanding people with the condition can continue to enjoy a full and active life.”
Peter Roach, Chief Executive of Bournville Village Trust, said: “We are committed to becoming a dementia-friendly organisation which is geared up to providing the best possible service to people with the condition.
“In Bournville in particular we have an ageing population and the Alzheimer’s Society predict that one in six 80-plus year olds will have a form of dementia. Therefore, it’s vital that as well as creating new services like our care village at College Green that we are providing the right service to people with dementia in their own homes.”
Dementia, which over 73,000 people in the West Midlands region are believed to live with currently, is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Symptoms can include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language.
Bournville Village Trust (BVT) is a charity and housing organisation founded by chocolate maker and philanthropist George Cadbury.
The Trust is currently developing a £60million state-of-the-art care village that once built will meet the needs of older people and people who need care and support to live comfortably in their home.
For more information about dementia, visit alzheimers.org.uk