Monday, 3 December 2012

Dementia friendly communities: the challenge

 

In the Dementia Challenge progress report published on 8 November, the dementia friendly communities group described the challenge it is trying to address:
The challenges people with dementia have to deal with go far beyond a diagnosis and getting support from the health and care system.
People living with dementia often find everyday things we all take for granted, like spending time with friends and families, enjoying hobbies, going shopping or getting money from the bank, much more difficult.
A recent report from the Alzheimer’s Society found as many as 67% of people with dementia often do not feel part of their community.
People living with dementia said they commonly experience loneliness, isolation, anxiety and depression and three quarters of people said they feel society is not geared up to deal with people with dementia.
Trevor Jarvis, who has dementia, told us about the difficulties he has experienced accessing his savings from a bank. He explained he finds it hard to remember his bank passwords and PIN numbers. A lack of understanding of dementia within the financial sector often makes it difficult for people with dementia to use banking services and manage their money.
Even using public transport, something most of us take for granted, can prevent people who have dementia from being active in their community, leading to feelings of isolation. Difficulties in issues around communicating with the bus driver, getting off at the right bus stop and processing information can make it very hard to use buses.

What we want to be different

We want to create dementia friendly communities across the country. In these communities: people will be aware of and understand more about dementia; people with dementia and their carers will be encouraged to seek help and support; and people with dementia will feel included in their community, be more independent and have more choice and control over their lives.
By 2015, our vision is to more than double our initial ambition of at least 20 cities, towns and villages working towards becoming dementia friendly.
This means creating local Dementia Action Alliances to bring together community leaders alongside people with dementia and their carers to identify the changes and action needed to make their community dementia friendly.
It is about businesses, organisations and services understanding and responding to the needs of people with dementia.
Simple things, like changing the layout of a shop, improving or using different signage and training staff so they are more aware of dementia can make a difference. Even products can be designed and adapted to become dementia friendly.
Our ambition is to support wider society to make the change to enable people who have dementia to be able to confidently go about their daily lives safely and free from stigma.
Find out about progress on dementia friendly communities.

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