County Durham and Dementia friendly towns
Many people including local councillors think that once they have done a dementia friends course, they know it all, and need not do anything else, something that many know is wrong.
A dementia friends course is only the first step, and we are supposed to take things further, but how many do.
I have seen a few communities go dementia friendly, and they have thrown even thing at it, to ensure that people with dementia get a better deal and are treated with respect. But to many, it's just a badge and nothing else.
To ensure that communities are genuinely dementia friendly, we must also consider things like traffic calming, something that Durham County a Council refuses to do.
In our town the traffic races in from the bypass, and then races through the town.
There are very few places where you can cross safely unless you are on the main shopping street, where there are pelican crossings.
In our area where there are a lot of elderly and a care home, but you just have to take your chances at crossing the road, because the motorists start to accelerate once you step onto the road.
I heard a few months ago that this town was going to become dementia friendly, but how can they, when they don't consider things like traffic calming etc, which not only have an effect on people with dementia but also many disabled, people with hearing or eyesight problems.
However there are problems on the main shopping street also, because even though this is supposed to be buses only, and restricted to 30 miles per hours, ambulances sometimes race through the town centre at speeds sometimes exceeding 40 miles per hour. The fact is that some parts of the road are very narrow, as are the footpaths, so if you are not careful you can be hit by the wing mirrors of buses etc as they pass.
I have had to jump a few times when my hearing has been playing up, so how will someone with other illnesses cope.
I once spent a whole day doing two sessions at county hall talking about dementia, and at the end I realised that apart from possibly 6 people out of well over 50, who were interested, the rest did not care less, and I am convinced things are still the same.
This council refuses to reduce the speed limit to 20 in this area alone even though there are two schools, a church and a care home within 500 yards, they also refuse to have crossings until someone is either killed or injured, so can this town and county ever be dementia friendly, I think not.
The sad thing is that many of these councillors either moved in to take up council positions, or they are union people doing the job as community work in councils to help them selves up the ladder, they were not born here, neither have they lived here for long. I guess it's the same in many counties.
But we must remember that dementia friendly towns etc, is more that putting a dementia friends sticker on a shop window, it's also about making towns safer to live in.
If people are genuine about dementia friends and dementia friendly towns and villiages, they must take on board, that's it's far more that just making shops dementia friendly, it's also the enviornment we live in.
If these councils are really genuine about being dementia friendly, they should listen to people who have the illness, the real people who know what the problems are, and what needs to be changed.
It's simply not good enough to send professionals, who have no real idea what it's like to live with dementia.