Derbyshire health and social care leaders are backing a new campaign to develop understanding about dementia and encourage people to spread the word further.
NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council are supporting the Dementia Friends campaign which was launched this week to highlight ways to make Derbyshire a more dementia-friendly community to live and work in.
Dementia is arguably the biggest health crisis facing the UK. There are more than 665,000 people in England who have dementia and an estimated 21 million people in England have a close friend or family member with dementia.
In the East Midlands alone, there were 51,807 people diagnosed with dementia last year, with the figure expected to rise to 61,448 by 2020.
The campaign, launched by Public Health England and Alzheimer’s Society, is encouraging people in Derby City and Southern Derbyshire to become Dementia Friends by attending a free one hour awareness session delivered by a volunteer Dementia Friends Champion or watching an interactive video to increase their understanding of the condition and how it impacts on people affected by dementia and their carers.
Lots of CCG staff have already signed up as Dementia Friends.
See the Dementia Friends website for details of awareness sessions in your area.
Dr Sheila Newport, Chair of NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG, said:
“One in three of us over the age of 65 will develop dementia - an incredibly high statistic. But people with dementia can live well, and it is the responsibility of the rest of the community to help them do so.
“It is only by personally understanding the issues that people living with dementia face that we can fully appreciate the challenges they have to overcome on a day-to-day basis. By participating in the short information session to become a Dementia Friend, you are playing a crucial role in helping us take one step closer to creating a dementia-friendly society.”
The campaign aims to create a network of one million Dementia Friends across England by 2015. As part of the campaign, adverts started to appear on TV and online from Wednesday (7 May).
Dementia Friends is part of a wider initiative to create Dementia Friendly Communities that are inclusive and welcoming for people with dementia. Organisations can make a public commitment to improving the quality of life of people with dementia by creating their own plan of action and becoming part of a Dementia Action Alliance.
The CCG, Derby City and Derbyshire County Councils are updating their local joint dementia strategies, setting out their commitment to supporting people affected by dementia. The strategies include actions to promote the Dementia Friend initiative and to explore ways that Derbyshire can become more dementia-friendly, as well as a range of service improvements. All three organisations have joined the Dementia Action Alliance and have signed a national Dementia Pledge committing to actions to support people living with dementia and those who care for them.
The joint action plans have already seen the introduction of a range of memory assessment and dementia support services plus an all-age psychiatric liaison service at Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
There will be a free one hour Dementia Friend information session on Friday 23 May from 11am – 12 noon at the Council House, Derby. This event is open to anyone who wants to find out more about dementia and become a Dementia Friend. Booking is essential as there is limited space – please book via the Dementia Friends website and view more on the information and handbag goodies available on the day.
For further information on the campaign and how to become a Dementia Friend, visit the Dementia Friends website.