New Dementia Guidance

February 12, 2019

Sport England is working with the Alzheimer's society to help people with dementia live active lives. 

They have teamed up to produce a dementia-friendly sport and physical activity guide. The guide, which was produced with National Lottery funding and can be downloaded here, aims to help the sports sector bring down barriers that prevent people living with dementia from taking part in sport and physical activity.

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive at Sport England, said the document would go some way to building a dementia-friendly society and help more people get active.

“We want to transform the way the sport and physical activity sector thinks, acts and talks about dementia – with every leisure centre, community hall and sports club equipped with the resources to meet the needs of those living with the condition,” he added.  

Whether it’s a leisure facility management team, reception desk staff, an exercise professional leading a class, community coaches, or volunteers, we need them to make the small changes needed to support people affected by dementia to get active and keep active.

“Defeating dementia won’t happen overnight, but until that day, we must all pull together to create a dementia-friendly society and that is why I’m proud to support this guide and commend the sport and physical activity sector for uniting against dementia.”

Dementia is one of the greatest challenges facing society today and there are more than 850,000 people living with the condition in the UK.

Yet many people with dementia say they experience barriers to taking part in activity.

These could include difficulty in navigating around a sports facility or remembering how to use equipment in a leisure centre.

Others say they worry about people’s reactions, for example, staff not understanding their difficulties, or a lack of confidence in finding the right activities".

The practical guide aims to inform and educate individuals and organisations, so they have a better knowledge of dementia and how it affects people.

It also provides tools and guidance so that the sector can help more people affected by dementia enjoy the benefits of staying active in a caring and understanding environment.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said the guide would help make taking part in sport or physical activity less daunting.

“Dementia can devastate lives and it is vital that people with dementia are enabled and empowered to live the life they want in their community,” he added.

“Visiting a gym, sports centre or favourite leisure facility to take part in physical activity can be daunting for people with dementia, loved ones and friends – but with support and adjustments from sport and physical activity providers, they will remain active.

The guide is part of a £1.7 million National Lottery-funded partnership with the Richmond Group of charities, bringing together some of the biggest charities in health to deliver projects to help people with long term health conditions to get active.