Dementia-friendly communities 'a matter of time' says charity chief


THE North-East businessman who heads the Alzheimer's Society says it is only a matter of time before dementia-friendly communities start springing up in the region.

Alastair Balls, chairman of the national Alzheimer's Society and the Northern Rock Foundation, spoke out following conferences in Middlesbrough and Newcastle that focussed on improving the quality of life for people living with dementia.

The 'Joining the Dots' conferences, organised by the North-East Dementia Alliance, were called to establish ways that County Durham, Teesside, Tyneside and Northumberland, organisations and individuals can work together to make life better for people with dementia.

It follows in the footsteps of the Prime Minister's Challenge on Dementia - launched last year - which includes the ambition of creating communities that are working to help people live well with dementia.

So far there aren't any established dementia-friendly communities that have actually been set up in the North-East so far but I am certain that is a situation that will change," said Mr Balls.

'The North-East has always had a strong sense of community and a loyalty towards everyone within it but the thing about dementia is that quite often it is hidden.
'Now we recognise there is a genuine enthusiasm for pursuing dementia-friendly communities and making them happen.

The Alzheimer's Society is leading the work on dementia-friendly communities in partnership with the Dementia Action Alliance.

'If they all understood what each other was up to they could complement what they do and fill in where there are gaps," said Mr Balls.

"There are some places where there are lots of activism and some where there is very little so we want to try to make the help that is available as universal as we can," he added.


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