On the 6th of September, it was announced that British Airways has partnered with the Alzheimer’s Society as a way to demonstrate their support this Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and to highlight the important work that is being done to help end the devastation of dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Society
The Alzheimer’s Society is a crucial UK charity that works with people currently living with and/or are affected by dementia. The charity provides expert support services as well as ground-breaking research into the disease which has led to new discoveries and has encouraged leading campaigns to start making dementia a top priority. It is currently the only UK charity for dementia that covers all three of these areas.
The BA Better World Community Fund
The charity has officially become a beneficiary of the airline’s BA Better World Community Fund. This operation is committed to investing in different communities across its network and acting as a foundation for providing life-changing opportunities. They have made it their mission to create a more positive and sustainable impact and help those who need it most.
The BA Better World Community Fund was launched back in April 2022 and has since raised more than £3.4 million and supports more than 17 charities across the UK.
British Airway’s partnership with the charity
British Airways is making a stand to be more dementia-aware. Not only will this partnership help to raise vital funds that will support the crucial research into the disease and the life-changing services that the charity provides, but it will also allow the airline to work closely with the charity on a number of initiatives.
These will include things such as customer service dementia training for those working in customer-facing roles within the airline and the uptake of Dementia Friends across the entire organisation. Dementia Friends is a program designed to transform the ways in which people think, act, and talk about dementia and will help BA colleagues learn how they can help to better support customers, family, and friends who are affected by the condition. Learn more about the initiative here.
British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, Sean Doyle, said: “I’m delighted to announce this partnership between British Airways and Alzheimer’s Society. This is a subject very close to my heart, and many of us have experienced a loved one living with dementia and know the added anxiety that travel can bring. Through this partnership, we continue our commitment to make travel accessible for everyone while raising awareness and funds for this fantastic charity’s vital work.”
Traveling with Dementia
Maggie and Rashmi Paun, are an elderly couple that, since retiring, has traveled a significant amount, including a seven-month round-the-world trip together. Despite them always being wanderlust, the British Airway’s customers informed the airline that since Rashmi was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease back in 2017, their travel plans have had to change to more familiar destinations. Maggie stated: “I think it’s great that BA is partnering with Alzheimer’s Society through the BA Better World Community Fund. More and more people have dementia, and the fact is that people like us would still like to travel as much as we used to do.”
For people who are living with dementia, many things in life, including travel, can seem like an impossible challenge. Symptoms of dementia such as memory loss, disorientation, and struggles in planning can cause those living with dementia to face great difficulties during travel, such as losing track of their surroundings, getting lost despite being in familiar places, and can cause them to feel extremely unsafe or uncertain of finding assistance, even if they need it.
Statistics show that 1 in 3 people born in the UK today will eventually go on to develop dementia; currently, there are 900,000 people living with the disease. In fact, more than half a million customers who fly with British Airways every year require additional assistance, which is why the airline is working harder and harder to ensure that those who are affected by dementia.
British Airway’s Aims and what they’re doing to provide support
The airline’s main aim is to become the airline of choice for customers with visible and non-visible disabilities. They’re doing this by equipping colleagues with the essential training and knowledge to support customers requiring additional assistance. Furthermore, they are investing in a range of services designed to support customers with accessibility needs and have a dedicated accessibility team that can provide support to those who need it. This will ultimately ensure that their travel experience with the airline is seamless and stress-free.
British Airways offers assistance for those with the following:
- Mobility requirements
- Sensory disabilities – such as vision loss or deafness
- Neurodiversity conditions – such as autism
BA is encouraging you to help those with Alzheimer’s disease
Those who are a part of the British Airways Executive Club will also be able to make their donations using their Avios as when Avios are donated to any projects that are supported by the BA Community Fund, the Executive Club will donate the equivalent value of the Avios into pounds of up to a total of £100,000.
Up until the 31st of October of this year, any donations of £1 or 125 Avios to the Alzheimer’s Society through the BA Better World Community Fund will automatically be entered into a Prize Draw for the chance to win a holiday to Dubai. This will include return flights to Club World and five nights’ accommodation. Full details regarding the Prize Draw can be found here.
Have you got anyone you care about living with Alzheimer’s disease? Let us know what you think about British Airways’ new partnership in the comments below!