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Over 400 lawyers at Irwin Mitchell pledge to become 'Dementia Friends'

19/05/2017 News Team

Law firm Irwin Mitchell has committed to being the UK’s ‘most dementia-friendly legal business’ with 424 of its lawyers taking part in training to become Dementia Friends.

Around 15.5 percent of employees at the law firm have received information about how to help people live well with dementia, amounting to more than one in six employees across the country.

In support of Dementia Awareness Week (15-21 May), the law firm encouraged employees to get involved with the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme which intends to change the public’s perception of the condition.

Irwin Mitchell held hour long sessions promoting the scheme in 12 of its offices, and those who attended were encouraged to spread the word to friends and family about what they had learned about dementia and the challenges those affected face.

Solicitor from the Elderly & Vulnerable Client team (E&VC) at the firm’s Newbury office, Ben Saunders, and  Chichester-based senior associate Catherine Diamond hosted the session. Both Mr Saunders and Ms Diamond are Dementia Friends Champions, having trained over 170 ‘friends’ overall.

Mr Saunders explained: “These were informal sessions run by volunteers which explained simply the ways in which dementia can change people’s lives. The key focus of the session, however, is that there is always more to the person than the dementia and that, with an early diagnosis and appropriate support from family, friends and professionals, it is possible for people to live well with dementia for many years.”

Ms Diamond, who is also a specialist in E&VC added: “Our experience shows us the impact that dementia has on those who live with the condition and their loved ones. We want to help improve life for these people by helping to create as many new Dementia Friends as possible.

“Not only so our employees have a better understanding of the clients they are working with, but so they can spread the word to their own families and friends and help the wider communities we operate in become more inclusive by giving them a greater understanding of dementia and ways to help people living with the condition.”

There are an estimated 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and the figure is expected to reach over two million by 2051.  

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