STAFF with a Central Fife business have committed to increasing their knowledge and awareness of dementia as part of a nationwide initiative.

Co-op Funeralcare, who have branches in Cowdenbeath and Lochgelly, as well as Dunfermline, Rosyth and Inverkeithing, have been awarded the ‘Dementia Friendly Fife’ award after undertaking training to become a Dementia Friend.

An Alzheimer Scotland project that is supported by the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, Dementia Friends allows anyone of any age to learn more about with it’s like to live with the condition, and use that understanding to provide support.

It is designed to help those living with the condition to stay at home within their community and continue to engage with activities that they may have been involved in before diagnosis, while organisations looking to become dementia-friendly are encouraged to look at their physical space and ensure signage promotes easy access, as well as inviting staff to become a Dementia Friend through 15-minute online training.

Co-op Funeralcare homes across West Fife have embraced the training and it comes after they launched a Memory Box initiative in Dunfermline in 2017, which encourages those with dementia to engage with historical memorabilia and prompt conversations.

The concept was taken to care homes and day centres across the area, before being rolled out across the country, and Co-op Funeralcare’s Kenny McLachlan said: “At Co-op, we are passionate about giving back to our local communities. As such, we had previously done some work to help those with dementia in the local area via our Memory Box programme.

“We agreed that we should make sure all our local premises were Dementia Friendly, furthermore our colleagues were eager to commit to the training in order to become Dementia Friends.”

Ruth McCabe, of the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, added: “It has been a delight to support Kenny and his team to achieve the Dementia Friendly Fife award. They have all been so open to getting involved and embraced the need to do the Dementia Friends training. It has been a heartening experience to work with a team who recognise the issues around living with a diagnosis of dementia and are prepared to go that extra mile to support people.”

Across Scotland, approximately 90,000 people living with dementia, it is estimated that 20,000 will be diagnosed with the condition every year by 2020.