Dementia-Friendly Communities guide
The document, which has been endorsed by the prime minister, Boris Johnson MP, aims to help local councils support people living with dementia in their communities. It contains case studies, recommendations, resources and statistics, and a message from Gary Streeter MP who has supported turning South West Devon in a dementia-friendly constituency.
Between January and May 2020, NALC surveyed England's 10,000 local councils to find out what steps they have taken to support people living with dementia in their communities. This research provided the foundations for the publication.
The Dementia-Friendly Communities guide has been written in collaboration with Ian Sherriff BEM, academic partnership lead for Dementia at University of Plymouth and Cllr Liz Hitchins, chairman of Brixton Parish Council and chairman of Dementia-Friendly Parishes around the Yealm.
Read the Dementia-Friendly Communities publication
Dementia describes symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not the only one.
The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s society, there are more than 42,000 people in the UK under 65 living with dementia. While in total, there are roughly 850,000 people in the UK with dementia (Source: The Alzheimer’s Society).
As a terminal illness, Dementia cannot usually be treated with medicines, it is therefore typically down to the support they receive from loved ones and caregivers to ensure a good quality of life.
NALC believes that local councils can play a large role in supporting those in their communities with dementia by providing quality social care through social interaction and support groups. Councils can support people with dementia by becoming ‘Dementia friends’ and a Dementia-friendly community.
What can councils do?
What are Dementia-friendly communities?
“A city, town or village where people with dementia are understood, respected and supported, and confident they can contribute to community life. In a dementia-friendly community, people will be aware of and understand dementia, and people with dementia will feel included and involved, and have choice and control over their day-to-day lives”.
Become a dementia-friendly community
- Shaping communities around the views of people with dementia and their carers
- Challenging stigma and building awareness
- Ensuring that activities include people with dementia
- Empowering people with dementia and recognising their contribution
- Ensuring early diagnosis, personalised and integrated care is the norm
- Befrienders helping people with dementia engage in community life
- Maintaining independence by delivering community- based solutions
- Appropriate transport
- Easy to navigate physical environments
- Businesses and services that respond to customers with dementia
Make your organisation dementia-friendly by following these steps.
Five simple steps to becoming dementia-friendly
- Sign up to become a dementia-friendly community on the Alzheimer’s website
- Set up training for councillors and residents in order to signpost symptoms of Dementia
- Ensure that your council buildings are checked to be suitable for people with Dementia
- Set up community groups for your community which is easily accessible for people living with dementia, such as walking, arts and crafts or singing
- Work with neighbouring communities to help promote becoming a dementia-friendly area