Blackpool has become the first town in the UK to ensure all its public transport is dementia friendly.
Blackpool Transport has been including Dementia Friends Awareness sessions as part of its standard staff induction for bus and tram drivers since 2015.
Building on their success around 1000 taxi drivers have also attended the awareness sessions this year as part of their licensing process.
In the UK it is estimated there are 850,000 people living with dementia, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. Of the 850,000 people who currently have dementia, 40% said they feel lonely and 34% don’t feel part of their community.
In response Blackpool Council, the local Dementia Action Alliance and local transport agencies have worked to provideDementia Friends Awareness sessions to all bus, tram and taxi drivers within the town.
Cllr Kim Critchley, Blackpool Council’s Older Persons Champion, said: “We want people to stay active and enjoy their life. These sessions aims to equip drivers with information that will help them understand more about the appropriate ways to help and assist a person who has or appears to have dementia.
“By ensuring transport is safer for people with the condition we can help them maintain their independence and feel more confident going out. The work that we are doing here in Blackpool aims to highlight that.”
Terry Slater, a driver for C Cabs who attended the session, said: “The Dementia Friend’s session was informative and delivered in a light-hearted way that got the message across. I better understand how dementia can show and am more aware of how I might help customers living with dementia.”
If you or a loved one have questions about living with dementia and the support available locally the next Dementia Action Alliance meeting will be held on Wednesday 25September, 1pm-3pm at Trinity Hospice. Alternatively Call the Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122.
If you would like to train to be a dementia champion to help raise awareness of the condition there is a training session available to book onto on Friday 19October at Solaris. Please book online via www.dementiafriends.org.uk