Hednesford Town Council spearheads ‘dementia friendly’ initiative.

Hednesford councillors are promoting awareness of dementia as they pioneer efforts to become a ‘dementia friendly town.’ They are working together to help the local community recognise the unique needs of people suffering from the often misunderstood condition.

Dementia Friendly Initiative

Members of the town council welcomed Will Boyce from Approach, an organisation helping people with the condition, in his role as a ‘dementia champion’. He briefed them on how to support sufferers and carers in a range of situations – and become a ‘dementia friend’. Now the councillors aim to help Will spread his message to other groups in the town, especially traders, to inspire a more dementia friendly environment as well as publicising guidance on empathising better.

Councillor Wendy Yates said the condition touched us all and devastated families. She said she would be working with the town’s Lions group to also reach out to dementia sufferers and their families.

In his briefing, Will explained that there is a national ‘challenge on dementia.’ “You can live well with dementia,” he said and stressed the importance of putting the person with dementia at the heart of care, finding out about them and learning about their likes and dislikes. Will said: “There are around 800,000 people in the UK with some form of dementia and this will soon be more than a million as our population ages. The aim is to create dementia-friendly communities where people will be aware of and understand more about dementia so that people with dementia and their carers can be encouraged to seek help. People with dementia should feel included in their community, gain more independence and have more choices.

Councillor Alan Pearson thanked Will for the briefing, saying that it had been an excellent session. He had been keen to learn more about how dementia is an umbrella term, covering Alzheimer’s Disease which accounts for around 70 per cent of sufferers, followed by the next largest group, the 10 per cent affected by vascular dementia.

Councillor Pearson said: “You don’t have to be an expert to become a dementia friend, but the prospect of helping people with a few simple steps such as showing them you care by wearing a dementia friends badge and that you may be able to help a neighbour or someone in the supermarket is hugely important and potentially of great benefit to our community. We look forward to the dementia friendly town initiative having a positive effect and we will promote awareness through the council and working with other groups.”

For more information on how Hednesford Town Council is working towards a ‘dementia friendly town’ and how you may be able to help, please contact Peter Harrison at Pye Green Community Centre on  peter.harrison@hednesford-tc.gov.uk.