Local council backs dementia scheme

Local council backs dementia scheme

A new initiative which provides support for individuals living with dementia by educating members of the public about the condition is being hailed by Norfolk County Council.

The local authority is set to host several sessions as part of the Dementia Friends programme, which helps people to gain a better understanding of the disease, reports the Lynn News.

Launched by Public Health England, the scheme allows members of the community to become a Dementia Friend by either watching an interactive video online or attending an information session in one of many locations across the UK.

In Norfolk alone, there are an estimated 16,400 individuals with dementia, which makes the condition one of the region's top health issues. Nationally, the illness affects 665,065 directly, while 21 million people have a friend or family member who has dementia.

As part of the campaign, Norfolk councillors are encouraging local authority staff to become a Dementia Friend, which it plans to roll out by holding ten information sessions for its employees at County Hall.

Dan Roper, cabinet member for public protection at Norfolk County Council and chair of Norfolk's Health and Wellbeing Board, said: "Dementia is one of the Norfolk Health and Wellbeing Board’s top three priorities so anything we can do to raise community awareness and understanding about it can only be a good thing.

"We hope that Norfolk will become a champion in developing dementia friendly communities and encouraging as many people as possible to become Dementia Friends is a very positive and practical step towards achieving this aim."

The Dementia Friends initiative was originally launched in February 2013 after results of a survey from the Alzheimer's Society found less than half of people felt they knew enough about the condition and how it could affect them.

Organisers of the campaign are hoping to have one million people registered as a Dementia Friend by next year.

Find out about dementia care and support services at Barchester care homes.