McCarthy Stone launches drive to make all employees a Dementia Friend

17th May 2021

  • Initiative launched as part of Dementia Action Week on 17-23 May
  • Disease impacts 850,000 people in the UK, and is the leading cause of death in the country
  • All 2,600 of McCarthy Stone’s employees to sign up as a Dementia Friend

McCarthy Stone, the UK’s leading developer and manager of retirement communities, has launched a drive to make all employees a Dementia Friend by the end of 2021.

The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest initiative of its kind with more than 3 million members. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition, which sadly currently impacts 850,000 people, and is forecast to rise to 2 million by 2051. Covid-19 has also made it more challenging supporting those with dementia, with more than a quarter (27.5%) of those who died with the virus in the first three months of the 2021 lockdown having the disease. It has now overtaken heart disease as the leading cause of death in the UK.

Dementia is caused by different diseases that affect the brain. The most common is Alzheimer's but there are more than 100 different types, including vascular dementia. Symptoms can include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving, language and co-ordination. More people over 65 have dementia but it can impact the young as well.

McCarthy Stone, which operates 450 retirement communities around the UK supporting more than 20,000 older people, is committed to supporting and caring for those in later life and has signed up to the campaign to ensure its employees are aware of the impact of the condition, both in a personal and professional capacity.

While very few of its customers have dementia, the company takes an active approach to managing the disease, including through the design of its communities, the care and support provided by its on-site Services team, which includes a CQC-registered care service in its Retirement Living PLUS (Extra Care) communities, and the increased level of companionship provided by retirement living.

All members of McCarthy Stone’s Senior Leadership, Sales and Services team have already been encouraged to sign up as Dementia Friends and all 2,600 employees are set to join by the end of 2021. The internal campaign is led by Alex Fleming, McCarthy Stone’s dedicated Health and Wellbeing Adviser.

John Tonkiss, McCarthy Stone’s Chief Executive, said: “Dementia sadly impacts millions of older people but it is possible to live well with the disease and to prevent its onset with the right support. While thankfully few of our customers have dementia, we want all our employees to understand how it might impact someone, recognising where we need to be more understanding, patient and kind to support those with the disease, and to ensure our communities are suitably designed. The Dementia Friends campaign is a great initiative and we’re delighted to support it.”

Employees and customers of McCarthy Stone will also be supporting Denim for Dementia Day on 21 May, which will be delivered through its new Charitable Foundation.

For more information about the disease and becoming a Dementia Friend, please visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk

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About McCarthy Stone

McCarthy Stone is the UK's leading developer and manager of retirement communities, with a significant market share. The Group buys land and then builds, sells and manages high-quality retirement developments. It has built and sold more than 58,000 properties across more than 1,300 retirement developments since 1977 and is renowned for its focus on the needs of those in later life.

There is growing demand for retirement communities. There are currently 12.2 million people aged 65 or over, rising to 17.4m by 2043, representing a 43% increase. For those aged 85 or over, the increase will be larger, from 1.6m to 3.0m, representing an 87% increase. Research shows that 33% of those aged 65 or over are interested in moving, equating to c.4 million people.

McCarthy Stone has two main product ranges - Retirement Living and Retirement Living PLUS - which provide mainly one and two-bedroom apartments across the country with varying levels of support and care for older people. Retirement Living developments provide independence in private apartments designed specifically for the over-60s, as well as facilities such as communal lounges and guest suites that support companionship.

Retirement Living PLUS developments, which are designed specifically for the over-70s, offer all of this plus more on-site facility such as restaurants, well-being suites and function rooms. Importantly, they also provide on-site flexible care and support packages to assist those needing additional help.

All developments built since 2010 are managed by the company's in-house management services team, providing peace of mind that it will look after customers and their properties over the long term. This is a key part of how McCarthy Stone seeks to enrich its customers' lives. This commitment to quality and customer service continues to be recognised by residents. In March 2021, the Group received the full five-star rating for customer satisfaction from the Home Builders Federation for the sixteenth consecutive year - making it the only UK developer, of any size or type, to achieve this accolade.

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