Dementia Friendly Communities

What is a Dementia Friendly Community?

Ann Pascoe the founder of a Social Enterprise in the Scottish Highlands for Dementia Friendly Communities reminds us that people don’t walk down the street with a red bathing cap on their heads saying ‘I have dementia’. They want to be part and parcel of the community and still contribute to the well-being of that community. Dementia Matters in Powys has the aim is to help make this happen in Powys.

Nearly all of us have some experience of dementia. Perhaps a family member is living with the condition, a friend has been recently diagnosed or is showing increased signs of memory loss, a neighbour is a full-time-carer or you’ve witnessed someone struggling to cope in the bank or a shop as they try to remember their PIN or what it is they’ve come to buy.

Whatever our individual experience, it is vital we raise awareness and understanding of dementia in order to remove the stigma associated with the condition, so that people living with dementia and those who care for them do not feel excluded but receive our understanding and support. This can and is being achieved by creating Dementia Friendly Communities.

Within Powys it is estimated there are 2,500 people who are living with dementia, many without a diagnosis, and because of our ageing population this number is set to rise 44% within the next six years. Increasingly, people with dementia are living much longer in the community, but sadly, all too often, people with dementia and their carers experience loneliness and social exclusion. By mobilising society and working together we can make sure that people living with dementia enjoy being part of and feel a valued part of their communities.

Dementia Friendly Community initiatives are seen both nationally and internationally as having a key role in promoting inclusivity and supporting people affected by dementia.

Dementia Friendly Communities

A Dementia Friendly Community involves everyone living and working locally: shop assistants, businesses, police, fire & ambulance staff, bus drivers, school pupils – the list goes on! The important common factor is a commitment to working together to enable those affected by dementia to remain independent – being part of and contributing to the community for as long as possible.

Our key message is: We’re all in this together and together we can make a difference. This is about a making a commitment to social change which will only strengthen our communities – in the recognition that we can all learn from each other. What is good in a community for people with dementia and their carers – understanding, compassion, tolerance, patience and kindness – is also good for everybody. Being a more dementia-friendly community champions a return to old-fashioned values which will help make life easier for everyone.

You can read a sample checklist of what you might need to think about if your community wants to work towards becoming dementia friendly here.

The Alzheimer’s Society first introduced the concept of Dementia Friendly Communities in to the UK and has devised a system for officially recognising communities that are working to become dementia-friendly .

Dementia Friends Awareness sessions and creating Dementia Friends is a key step to helping a community become more Dementia aware. These sessions have been devised by the Alzheimer’s Society as part of the Dementia Friends programme and are delivered by volunteer Dementia Friends Champions. Sessions take about 45 minutes, and are interactive and FUN! They can be done face-to-face or on-line and can be adapted for children as well as adults. Please see our Can You Help? page for further information or look at the link below.