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Dementia Friendly Training Pledged for All Staff

Blog Daryl Griffiths, CEO with some of the Burnett Barker Solicitors staff.

Latest News: Burnett Barker Solicitors based in Bury St Edmunds, has pledged that all of its staff – both solicitors and support staff – will undergo Dementia Friendly information sessions this year in a bid to increase understanding of the condition.

There are many myths surrounding Dementia, and the lack of understanding of what it is and how people with dementia should be treated throughout every-day life, can contribute greatly to the feelings of distress and discomfort they experience.

As a solicitors firm which deals with people from all walks of life, including many elderly people, Burnett Barker Solicitors has identified a need to educate all staff, not just those who deal directly with clients, on the symptoms and impact of dementia.

Partnering with local charity Gatehouse, also based in Bury St Edmunds, Burnett Barker will be establishing a number of mandatory information sessions over the summer of 2018, designed to educate staff on dementia and the small ways in which they, as individuals and as a firm, can help lessen the stress and impact of the disease.

Daryl Griffiths, CEO and Burnett Barker Solicitors said:

 “It’s important for all of us to understand what dementia is and the varying forms it can take,   so that we can all do our bit in helping to increase understanding of diseases such as Alzhemiers, Huntingdon’s and Parkinson’s disease dementia.”


“Many of our clients will be of an age where dementia is assumed as something that ‘just happens’ to people when they get old, however this is simply not the case. Training of this   nature is therefore hugely important for individuals, organisations and local communities to  learn how the daily lives of people with dementia can be affected, and what they can ‘do’ to help lessen the impact.”

Elaine Channen, Dementia Hub Facilitator at Gatehouse, added:

“Being dementia-friendly doesn’t have to mean making dramatic changes or going out of your way to ‘do things’ for people with dementia – it’s the small, everyday considerations that make a difference – ensuring that the society we all live in is inclusive to all. We are so pleased that organisations such as Burnett Barker are making this a priority, and look forward to meeting all of their staff in due course.”

Elaine Channen, Dementia Hub facilitator at Gatehouse

The training will focus on educating staff on the various causes of dementia alongside developing an understanding of how people with dementia feel, think and behave – and how small changes in attitude and behaviour can make a big difference to their lives.

Some examples of small changes that can be made include:

  • Being sensitive to the feelings of somebody with dementia
  • Understanding that the perception of reality can change for somebody with dementia, so even if you don’t understand why they may say or do particular things, you must respect their decision
  • Avoiding treating a person with dementia as a child. This is often a natural reaction, but many people with dementia will still pick up on this and become upset
  • Making a concerted effort to include a person with dementia in your conversations, and not speaking about them as if they weren’t there
  • Having patience with people who have dementia. We could all learn to be more patient and tolerant with others and those with dementia, who may take longer to say or do something, will often require more patience
  • Being conscious of your surroundings and removing anything that could be perceived as worrying or scary to a person with dementia
  • Providing opportunities for the person to have conversations and relationships with other people – being social is a huge factor in not only reducing the risks of dementia but promoting the wellbeing of a person with the disease.

Gatehouse is one of the major providers of dementia services in West Suffolk, providing day services including luncheon clubs, memory cafes, peer support groups for carers, plus advice and signposting in partnership with statutory and voluntary organisations across the county.

The Dementia Hub is an open service to all those at any stage of their journey, whether they are living with dementia or they care for somebody with Dementia and offers practical help, advice and support.

For more information on Burnett Barker Solicitors, browse the website or call 01284 701131.

You can also pop into our offices at 20 Whiting Street, Bury St Edmunds, where there is free parking on site.

About Gatehouse

We’re an independent charity that works with the vulnerable throughout East Anglia. Our work is effectively split into four projects areas.

  • the Home store
  • the Foodbank
  • the Dementia Hub
  • the Christmas project

Although not a religious organisation, Gatehouse works with local churches, businesses, the local authorities and others to continue to serve the vulnerable and those in need at a time when charitable giving has declined and public sector support for its work is being reduced.