Burnham-On-Sea’s MP James Heappey has taken a step towards helping end the stigma surrounding dementia by becoming a ‘Dementia Friend’.

Dementia Friends was launched in February 2013 by the Alzheimer’s Society and is an initiative that aims to help people understand what it might be like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action.

Mr Heappey and his office colleagues took part in a number of exercises aimed at helping participants understand the effect of dementia on people’s everyday lives.

The MP said afterwards: “I’ve signed up to show my support for Dementia Friends, and am encouraging people to do the same too. With a growing number of people living with dementia, it’s more important than ever we all have a better understanding of the condition.”

“Dementia Friends is about giving people an understanding of dementia and the small things they can do that can make a difference to people living with dementia. From helping someone find the right bus to spreading the word about dementia, it can help make our local community a better place to live.”

Natalia Peremiquel, Dementia Friends Champion, said: “Less than half of us think we know enough about dementia. Dementia Friends isn’t about creating experts, it’s about helping people understand a little bit more about what it’s like to live with the condition and then turn that understanding into action – anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend.”

If you are interested in becoming a Dementia Friend or helping create more communities that are dementia friendly, see www.dementiafriends.org.uk.