Aiming to Lead the Way in Dementia Awareness
Published Tuesday 8th October 13
A campaign to establish one of the UK's first dementia friendly boroughs has been launched in Ribble Valley.
Ribble Valley Borough Council has joined forces with the Alzheimer's Society and several businesses, community groups and public and private sector organisations to establish the area as a centre of excellence in dementia awareness.
Over 500 people attended a series of dementia awareness seminars in the borough last year.
The sessions were so successful that Ribble Valley aims to become one of the country's first dementia friendly boroughs.
Over the coming months, the council will be working with the Alzheimer's Society to develop "dementia friends" throughout the borough, who may come into contact with members of the public with the disease in a variety of locations.
Ribble Valley Borough Council partnership officer David Ingham said: "Dementia sufferers face barriers when trying to continue with ordinary life, such as shopping, using public transport and engaging in social activities, and it is likely that many do not even go out for fear of not being able to cope.
"It was clear from the response to the dementia awareness sessions that there was a considerable local appetite for making life easier for dementia sufferers and their families.
"This has been translated into a campaign to make Ribble Valley a dementia friendly community as part of the borough's Year of Health and Wellbeing.
"This is a dynamic community-focussed initiative that has attracted support from organisations and individuals across the borough."
Ribble Valley Borough Council has been gathering evidence from people with dementia and their carers about what might help them enjoy a better quality of life, with a view to creating a network of places and organisations that are dementia friendly and educating the public to understand and deal with dementia more effectively.
David Ingham added: "Ribble Valley aims to be a borough that promotes acceptance and understanding of dementia, values and welcomes dementia sufferers in the community, where dementia sufferers are free from stigma, have equal access to resources and, crucially, a voice."
Dementia describes different disorders that trigger a loss of brain function, the most common being Alzheimer's Disease, which affects 62 per cent of sufferers. Symptoms of dementia include memory loss, confusion and problems with speech and understanding. Dementia can occur at any age, but the elderly are particularly susceptible.
In public situations, people with dementia may exhibit a range of difficulties, such as remembering what they are doing, communicating clearly, handling money and navigating confusing environments.
People with dementia repeatedly state that the attitude of those they encounter on a daily basis has the biggest impact on their lives and a basic understanding of how to deal with dementia sufferers can make a huge difference.
As such, staff at Ribble Valley Borough Council and organisations throughout the borough will receive training in awareness and understanding of dementia, how to deal with sufferers and signpost their families to help and support.
Buildings will also have clear signage, good lighting and quiet spaces for someone who might be feeling anxious or confused.
Partners in the campaign include the police, health service, shops, banks, cafes and libraries.
The Ribble Valley Year of Health and Wellbeing aims to tackle health and wellbeing inequalities in isolated rural communities by establishing a dementia friendly borough, promoting healthy lifestyles and developing affordable warmth.