29 AUGUST 2016
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A commitment to becoming the world’s first dementia-friendly airport was announced last week by Heathrow, which has begun working with the Alzheimer's Society to change global attitudes towards the illness.
As part of the charity’s Dementia Friendly Communities programme, the airport has pledged to make all 76,000 people who work at Heathrow “dementia aware” by providing talks, training and online resources.
The initiative is part of the government-led 2020 Challenge on Dementia, which encourages businesses to work to help people with the disease to feel “understood and included”.
Worldwide, more than 47m people have dementia, with the number projected to rise to 135m by 2050. In England alone, the condition affects nearly 700,000 people, involving half a million carers and costing the UK £26bn a year.
Working with Omniserv, which assists passengers with special requirements, Heathrow has already implemented several initiatives, including offering training for frontline staff and the wider airport team based on Alzheimer's Society courses on how to support passengers with dementia.
Chief executive John Holland-Kaye, said: “Airports can be particularly stressful for passengers with dementia, so we are delighted to be working to ensure they get the support they need.”
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