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Breaking the taboos around dementia

Posted on 25 May 2018 12:55 PM by rober1k

Providing top-class customer services is a key priority at UK Power Networks and we want all our services to be inclusive of people in vulnerable circumstances.

A year ago, we set ourselves the ambitious target to give our entire workforce access to a specially-designed course by Alzheimer’s Society which breaks down taboos around this often misunderstood condition and shows how people can live well with dementia.

A year on, as we mark Dementia Action Week 2018 (May 21-27), thousands of my colleagues have now completed the Dementia Friends programme, helping debunk the myths surrounding dementia and opening ours eyes to the extra care and support that can benefit those of our customers living with this condition, as well as those closer to home.

I’ve led many Dementia Friends sessions, including a launch day where all of our directors became Dementia Friends. Their leadership made a huge difference and the response to the programme has been phenomenal, right across the business.

Alzheimer’s Society’s bookcase video has proven to be a real light-bulb moment in helping our people to understand that dementia is not just about memory loss and discovering ways to make sure people with the condition feel included and understood.

Shockingly, dementia is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales and is something we or people we care about may face in the future. It has been empowering to gain a better insight into this cruel condition and gain practical tips to enhance the lives of those living with it day-to-day. We are better equipped to understand dementia so that we can be more patient and provide the extra care that people need, especially in an emergency. Our people are more understanding and considerate as a result of it.

Beyond UK Power Networks we have delivered the Dementia Friends programme to our partners in other gas and water companies, as well as teams tackling fuel poverty in London, the South East and East of England. We were proud to be part of developing with the Alzheimer’s Society the Dementia Friendly Utilities Guide, to share best practice with other utilities.

Our business awareness of dementia has increased beyond anything we imagined. Since embarking on our mission to become a dementia friendly business we have looked at all the points of contact that people with dementia may have with our business and devised ways to improve services. These range from ensuring phone calls from people with dementia get answered quickly to having a nominated person who we can contact to support that person if needed. Before bad weather we alert them, so they can be better prepared in the event of a power cut and we also provide more frequent reminders before planned interruptions to supply.

Together with my team we’re looking at new ways we can enhance services for these customers. We can only help dementia customers we know about, so we urge people who are eligible to join our confidential Priority Services Register for the free support we can provide during a power cut.

TO REGISTER Visit Phone 0800 169 9970, or Email

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