Why we are becoming a Dementia Friendly law firm

By Catrin Lloyd, Solicitor and Head of Wills & Probate

We are pleased to confirm that throughout 2019 Switalskis will be working towards becoming a more “Dementia Friendly” organisation.

An initiative set up by the Alzheimer’s Society, “Dementia Friends” aims to raise awareness of the challenges faced by people living with dementia. According to the Dementia Friends website: “Being a Dementia Friend simply means learning more about dementia, putting yourself in the shoes of someone living with the condition, and turning your understanding into action. From visiting someone you know with dementia to being more patient in a shop queue, every action counts.”

People can become a Dementia Friend by watching an online video or attending an Information Session. As part of our commitment to becoming a Dementia Friendly organisation, one of our first steps will be to encourage all members of staff to attend an Information Session and become a Dementia Friend. Throughout 2019, our Dementia Champion, Catrin Lloyd will be arranging Information Sessions at each of our 13 offices.

Dementia Friends Information Session Knaresborough

Catrin Lloyd hosts the first Dementia Friends Information Session in Knaresborough

Says Catrin Lloyd: “We have over 250 members of staff, so we’ll be hosting at least 15 Information Sessions over the course of the year. I’ll be supported in delivering the sessions by several members of staff who have also committed to become Dementia Champions, and they will be attending their courses in February. We hope that by the end of 2019, 85% of our staff will be a Dementia Friend!

“Accessing legal services can be daunting for any individual, but for those with dementia it can be particularly challenging. At Switalskis, we aim to make the process as easy as possible for all clients. We try and ensure that anyone attending our offices is made to feel welcome, but it is all the more important to ensure that our clients with dementia are made to feel comfortable and secure, as they may feel particularly vulnerable in unfamiliar surroundings.

“Dementia is a condition which affects many of our staff and clients’ lives. For many years Switalskis has worked hard to protect the rights and interests of those living with dementia. Our teams have a built up wealth of experience in acting for individuals affected by dementia, by either ensuring that their voices are heard in the legal system or by providing the right support when preparing wills or powers of attorney.

“It is the firm’s aim to provide the best possible service and client care to all. Our teams want to make sure that everyone, even the most vulnerable in society, can access the legal services they require.

“We turn our principles into action by offering home visits and using plain language instead of legal jargon. This year we will review and consider how we can improve the services we offer to those affected by dementia.

“We look forward to the challenge and will update you on our progress!”