I believe that as a society we can make a difference to people living with dementia, and their families.
The county council has worked with our health partners to develop a plan for dementia. The idea is a simple: make life better for people with the disease. The real question is how do we do that?
Dementia is one of society’s biggest challenges, but the condition is often misunderstood. The Alzheimer’s Society has estimated that by 2021 there will be one million people living with the disease. In Lincolnshire, we estimate that there are 11,170 people aged 65 or older living with dementia. It’s not just older people it affects; dementia can be devastating for the estimated 200 people under 65 living with it in our county.
In Stamford, Bourne and The Deepings help is available from Dementia Support South Lincs, the winner of this year’s Good Citizens Award in the community group category. This dedicated group of volunteers provides valuable support, advice and social events, such as coffee mornings and outings to 225 families living with the effects of dementia and is working to make Bourne the first dementia friendly community in the county.
Caring for someone with dementia can be all-encompassing. The carers I meet are very proud of the work they do, and rightly so. I often wonder when these people, who do a fantastic job for their families, find the time to look after themselves. Many carers will have never considered taking a break, or even realise that it’s a possibility.
Dementia Carers Short Breaks is a programme that has been developed by the county council’s Adult Care Team and the Lincolnshire Carers and Young Carers Partnership to support carers in a way that suits them. This could be a night sitting service, a supported holiday for the cared for and the carer, or help at home with the laundry or the gardening. Find out more about this programme by calling the county council’s Carer’s Team on 01522 782224.
It is possible to live a full and happy life with dementia with the right support.
You don’t have to be an expert to help.
Sessions have been held at County Hall for councillors to sign up to the national initiative Dementia Friends. Being a Dementia Friend means understanding the small things that make a difference, like helping someone find the right bus or spreading the word about the disease.
Making life better for people with dementia is going to take understanding from all society.
Anyone can become a Dementia Friend, go to www.dementiafriends.org.uk.