Primary school children in Yorkshire get lessons in what it really means to have dementia

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Primary school children are being taught about dementia in a bid to raise awareness and remove the stigma surrounding the condition.

Led by Active Minds, the programme was launched in recognition that many youngsters may have grandparents or great grandparents living with dementia and the aim is to increase understanding about the impact it has on a family.

Resources, including lesson plans and workshop guides, have been sent out to hundreds of schools and can be used across different year groups.

Katy Ferguson, senior leader at Selby Abbey Church of England School, which recently took part in the scheme, said: “The Active Minds resources were so useful and key to supporting the pupil’s learning about dementia.

“Some of our pupils have personal experiences, so it’s important that awareness is raised from a young age and the responses we got from all our pupils were thoughtful and mature.”

Active Minds was launched in 2010 to help improve the quality of life for those with dementia by providing specially designed activities. The hope is that once a school has signed up to the programme, teachers will return to the issue throughout the year.

Ben Atkinson-Willes, of Active Minds, said: “The growth rate of dementia diagnosis around the world is inevitably matching that of old age and is set to affect over a million people in the UK alone by 2020.

“The changes that come with dementia vary and can be difficult for families to both understand and to know what to expect. However, by educating children early on, we hope to keep their relationships as tight as ever. We aim to provide joy to people with dementia and their families, recognising the power that engagement can bring

“Our organisation was set up to help promote a positive message and it is brilliant that schools are taking on board this important cause as they are so important in educating children and raising awareness from the start. The more people understand the better.”