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Schemes launched to make UK world leader on dementia

Innovative ideas unveiled to help improve lives

Jo Carlowe

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Today sees the launch of a series of innovative schemes to help people living with dementia lead fuller lives.

People living with dementia, business leaders and charities have come together to drive forward work on the Prime Minister’s dementia challenge.

Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Angela Rippon and Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive, Jeremy Hughes, will lead discussions on how to create communities that support people living with the condition.

The Dementia Friendly Communities Champion Group will look at how to make 20 cities, towns and villages dementia friendly by 2015. Ideas include having greeters in supermarkets to help guide people around the store and setting up dedicated dementia cafes.

In addition the Design council in partnership with the Department of Health has today launched five ground-breaking designs to help people with dementia including: a dementia support dog service, a wristband personal alarm and a room fragrance system to stimulate people’s appetites.

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said: “Fear of dementia can leave people feeling powerless and trapped, leaving them isolated and unsupported. That is why we have worked with the Design Council to drive innovation in dementia care. The five winning ideas have the potential to make a big difference for people with dementia and their families.

“The Design Council work is part of our wider drive to make our country dementia friendly. Today we go further with our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society to challenge cities, towns and villages up and down the land to lead a revolution in how people think about dementia.

“Working with businesses, councils, the local NHS and community groups our immediate goal is a network of 20 dementia friendly cities, towns and villages to lead the way.”

A month ago today the Prime Minister announced plans to make the UK a world leader on dementia, pledging to deliver major improvements in dementia care, dementia awareness and dementia research by 2015, with three ‘Champion Groups’ established to lead work on each strand.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “So many companies signing up to be dementia friendly shows a real commitment to improving people’s lives. From helping people with their shopping to making it easier to do their banking – these organisations are incredibly well placed to push forward real change.

“We now need to see more organisations getting involved. Together from bus drivers to businesses, we all have a role to play in making communities more dementia friendly.”

In England 670,000 people have dementia and the number of people developing the disease is increasing. One in three people will develop dementia and it costs society an estimated £19 billion a year.

The Dementia Friendly Communities Champion Group will investigate how best to develop a cross-sector approach to raising awareness and understanding of dementia, and as part of this, will input into the development of a nationwide campaign, led by the Department of Health and Alzheimer’s Society.

The three champion groups will report on progress to the Prime Minister in September 2012 and again in March 2013.

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