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Shining a light on dementia awareness

Britain’s biggest electricity distributor is rolling out a dementia awareness programme to thousands of staff as part of its commitment to becoming a dementia-friendly business.

From Press releases - 15 May 2017 12:00 AM

The company that keeps the lights on in London, the South East and East Anglia announced this week (Dementia Awareness Week) that it will coach its 6,000-strong workforce to understand the needs of customers living with dementia. The new Dementia Friends initiative from the Alzheimer’s Society, helps companies provide a better service to people living with dementia and their families and carers.

Dementia recently overtook heart disease as the leading cause of death in England and Wales and there are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. Over the past year UK Power Networks has seen a 138% increase in the number customers affected by dementia registering for its free priority service in the event of a power cut. 

UK Power Networks’ directors and senior managers have already become ‘Dementia Friends’ and over the summer almost 6,000 staff will receive information and take part in discussion groups led by managers.

Matt Rudling, Director of Customer Services at UK Power Networks, said: “People often have a personal response to this programme because dementia doesn’t just affect our customers, it affects many of our employees in their personal lives. Through group discussion and activities they can apply what they learn to improve the lives of everyone they know who is living with dementia.

“A power cut can be unsettling for someone living with dementia, and we believe that by building greater awareness and understanding of dementia, our staff will be able to provide a service more appropriate to their needs.”

Lenny Shallcross, Alzheimer’s Society Head of Community Engagement, said:  “Alzheimer’s Society is delighted that UK Power Network is united against dementia and will create 6,000 new Dementia Friends.
“People with dementia are among the most vulnerable in society, so it’s vital that public-facing organisations understand the condition and how their staff can offer help and understanding.
“As we mark  Dementia Awareness Week, Alzheimer’s Society encourages everyone across the country to come together to offer help and understanding, urgently find a cure and improve care for people living with dementia.”

Pensioners, parents with small babies, disabled people, hearing and sight-impaired residents and those using medical equipment powered by electricity at home also qualify to join the Priority Services Register.

Those on the register can access extra help services including:
• A 24-hour priority phone number
• A dedicated team who will contact you to keep you updated during a power cut
• Tailored support if needed such as home visits, hot meals, advice and keeping your friends and relatives updated
• In certain scenarios we may also offer a free hotel overnight and transport to the hotel
To apply visit, ring 0800 169 9970, or email