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100 dementia friends on hand to help passengers at airport

PUBLISHED: 07:50 24 September 2018

Dementia Friends at Stansted Airport, trained to help passengers with hidden disabilities Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT

Dementia Friends at Stansted Airport, trained to help passengers with hidden disabilities Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT

Archant

Stansted Airport now has 100 trained dementia friends, following special training sessions on World Alzheimer’s Day, Friday September 21.

London Stansted has been training staff at all levels with help from the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friend initiative.

Fifty staff members from across the airport had already gone through a training session, with 50 more taking part today.

A Dementia Friend learns about what it’s like to live with dementia and the challenges it brings.

Neil Banks, head of passenger services at London Stansted, said: “People with dementia continue to travel and fly in ever increasing numbers, either independently or with support from their loved ones or carers.

“With someone diagnosed with dementia every three minutes in the UK, many of those passengers may face challenges passing through the airport in the future.

“We want to create a dementia-friendly community at Stansted Airport so we are able to meet the needs of those passengers living with dementia and their family or carers, and to make their journeys as smooth and comfortable as possible.”

This is one of a number of initiatives London Stansted has in place to make the airport accessible for people with hidden disabilities, including dementia, autism, and disabilities which aren’t obviously visible to others, he said.

Stansted uses the Sunflower Scheme, where passengers can wear an Airport Awareness Sunflower lanyard or floret available at Stansted and other UK airports, to discreetly indicate to staff that they have a hidden disability and would like additional support.

The Special Flyer Autism Awareness Scheme allows passengers with autism and their families access to FastTrack security by wearing a special wristband, also available at the airport, which helps staff identify those who may need the offer of extra help.

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