I am delighted to have worked with the members of Dementia Friendly Petersfield to support the initiative to increase the awareness and understanding of dementia across the town, so those affected feel more supported by the businesses and services they rely on.
Before my late mother was diagnosed with a form of dementia (fronto-temporal) I thought I knew a lot about the condition. When the diagnosis came I realised how far from the truth that was. More than 26,000, people in Hampshire, including unitary authorities, have a form of dementia and across the UK a new person develops it every three minutes. Despite its growing prevalence, public understanding of the condition remains poor, which is why the Alzheimer’s Society are running a programme to boost awareness, and also why I decided to get involved.
Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme has been set up to tackle the stigma of dementia that can often result in people with the condition experiencing loneliness and social exclusion. The Society aims to create more communities and businesses that are dementia friendly so that people affected feel understood and included. To achieve this aim volunteer Dementia Friends Champions run Information Sessions to create Dementia Friends; having comfortably met their target to create one million, they have set themselves a new, ambitious aim to quadruple this number by 2020.
Along with many MP’s, a few years ago I became a Dementia Friend, which provided me with an invaluable understanding of what it is like to live with dementia and how I can change my own behaviours to support people with the condition. Like the Alzheimer’s Society, I want to make sure more people are given the opportunity to understand the disease.
The Dementia Directory 2022 provides information on the dementia support services available across East Hampshire, and can be found via this link: https://www.easthants.gov.uk/east-hampshire-dementia-directory
Home page photo courtesy of Malcolm Wells