Neville Funerals has become one of the first ‘Dementia Friendly’ funeral directors in Bedfordshire, committed to ensuring that customers with dementia feel at ease and supported during a bereavement.

Recently, 25 members of the Neville Funerals team have undertaken specialist training designed to raise awareness and understanding of dementia, offering practical advice on how best to work with individuals and families living with the condition.  More training sessions are being rolled out across the business over the next few weeks. Training, which forms part of Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friend initiative, has been delivered by Luton and Bedfordshire’s, Home Instead, who provide elderly care services in the region.

Dementia Friend is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia, with over 3 million people in the UK currently signed up. In addition, as part of the funeral director’s commitment to become ‘Dementia Friendly,’ Neville Funerals is also a long term supporter and member of Luton’s Dementia Action Alliance, made up of over 80 organisations determined to make Luton a better place to live with dementia.

Charmian Alexander, General Manager at Neville Funerals explains: “Ensuring that our customers and their families who are experiencing dementia feel at ease and comfortable during a bereavement is of paramount importance to us. “Planning a funeral is understandably a very distressing time, even more so for people with dementia. The training by Home Instead has demonstrated the importance of understanding and awareness as well as suggesting a number of practical steps we can take to ease distress, including reducing noise in reception so customers with dementia can focus, to ensuring that plans are communicated simply, with clear words. Training has also aided our understanding of how to support and prepare families ahead of the funeral itself, for example, explaining that loved ones with dementia may be disinhibited and speak out at funerals, and that it may be a good idea to sit at the front for a better view and focus to help with distractions. “Going forward, we plan to establish our own Dementia Champions within the business, ensuring that we continue to put in place best practice across Neville Funerals in the region. Each staff member who completes the training will also receive a Dementia Friends pin to wear to demonstrate to customers their understanding. Neville Funerals is incredibly proud to be one of the first Dementia Friendly funeral directors in the region. We look forward to continuing our role as a Dementia Friend and as part of the Dementia Action Alliance.”

Maria Collins, Home Instead adds: “Dementia is often exacerbated by a bereavement. Individuals can be left behind by a partner who was a carer, and feel incredibly alone, or are struggling to understand why a family member has passed away. Funeral directors have the opportunity to ease some of this distress, and support family members through the funeral process and beyond. The training Home Instead has delivered with Neville Funerals, has provided a number of very practical steps which the company has already put in place to become Dementia Friendly. We look forward to continuing to work with Neville Funerals to roll out training to the rest of the team across all eight branches.”

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