Local organisations are teaming up to lend their support to Dementia Awareness Week, taking place between 15 May to 21 May.
The national campaign, run by the Alzheimer's Society, aims to show how we can all play a part in improving the lives of people with dementia and their carers.
Currently it is estimated that there are around 670,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over one million by 2025. In Cambridgeshire, nearly 7000 people currently have dementia.
Locally, Cambridgeshire County Council will be working with partners to promote the campaign and its activities. One of the key activities is to encourage local people to volunteer and become "˜Dementia Friends'. The volunteer role involves learning about dementia and turning that knowledge into action by giving a little time to help support people living with dementia in the local community. Dementia Friends can get involved in a range of activities including:
- Getting and staying in touch with someone living with dementia
- Volunteering for a local organisation that helps people with dementia
- Campaigning for change, for example by signing up to Alzheimer's Society's campaigns to improve the lives of people with dementia
- Wearing a badge and telling 5 friends about the Dementia Friends initiative
- Being dementia friendly every day, for instance, being more patient with people in your community
The campaign also aims to increase awareness and understanding of dementia, promote local activities for people with dementia and their carers and support people worried about memory loss to access help. Locally, information will be shared through pharmacies, libraries and other community venues and a variety of local activities will be on offer including: library information events, memory cafes, timebank coffee mornings, choirs and museum activities.
Cambridgeshire County Council is working with Alzheimer's Society UK, Carers Trust, Alzheimer's Research UK, Age UK, Carers Network, Dance Moves, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Foundation Trust, Cambridgeshire Libraries, Cambridgeshire Music, University of Cambridge Museums, local timebanks and others.
Angelique Mavrodaris, Consultant in Public Health Medicine said: "Dementia is a life-changing condition, and is often people's biggest fear in later life. As part of Dementia Awareness Week, we want to make sure that people with dementia, their families and carers are aware and have access to the opportunities available to provide them with support so they can live well in their communities. We also hope to encourage as many people as possible to get involved with the campaign and together build dementia friendly communities. "
Claire Stockwell-Lance, Operations Manager for Alzheimer's Society in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire said: "This Dementia Awareness Week we are encouraging people to confront dementia and to find out more about it. One thing we would love people in Cambridgeshire to do is to become a Dementia Friend. You can do it face to face or online by going to http://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/. It's a really easy thing to do. You don't have to commit to doing something time-consuming. It's about learning what it is like to live with dementia and then turning that learning into practical action. Small things like having a coffee and chatting to someone with dementia or their carer can make a huge difference to them and make them feel part of the wider world."