Update on SCF's 3 year support of the Dementia Action Alliance
In May 2016 a study by the Alzheimers Society found that well over half (62%) of 2,000 people surveyed felt a dementia diagnosis would mean that their life was over, and a survey of a separate group of people suffering symptoms found 56% were putting off a visit to their GP for the same reason. Experts wanted to reassure people that with early support and treatment it is possible to live well with the disease for as long as possible. Supportive and aware communities are seen as key to maintaining the confidence and independence of dementia sufferers.
Somerset Community Foundation, recognising this key need in our communities, is providing funding over three years to support an initiative to make communities across Somerset dementia-friendly.
There are already several communities in Somerset who have signed up to create a Dementia Action Alliance (DAA). DAAs are run by a group of volunteers who work together to contact local businesses and organisations and support them to become dementia-friendly. For example in Wells the DAA have worked with NatWest and their bank staff in the town to deliver extra training, helping them understand the challenges faced by customers with dementia and how a power of attorney works. The bank staff are also supporting the DAA with volunteering, spreading the word to more organisations in the town.
Work such is carried out with the aim of enabling people living with dementia, of which nearly 70% continue to live in their own homes and in the community, to be able to enjoy activities which are important to them, for example:
- being able to travel
- sport or the cinema
- going to the shops
- running errands
- visiting places of worship
- managing day-to-day tasks
While this is volunteer led, there are benefits to the communities if they can share best practice and get support to engage with county–wide organisations and businesses. Having identified the importance of this work, Somerset Community Foundation are funding an Alzheimer’s Society member of staff to support the communities which are already registered as Dementia Action Alliance. These include:
- City of Wells
They will also support communities which are in the process of becoming Dementia Action Alliances.
If you would like to be part of this initiative and make it easier for people living with dementia to continue to enjoy all that Somerset has to offer then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone her on 01278 662809.