As one Lancashire town unites to support people with dementia, it hopes others will follow suit.
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Longridge has been granted Dementia Friendly Community status by Alzheimer’s Society, highlighting that businesses, health providers, schools, clubs and many individuals have been working hard over the past few months to help make the area a safe place for people with the condition.
Since a small steering group was set up in November last year, many organisations have signed up to become dementia aware and have taken part in sessions which helped them to make sure that anyone who is living with dementia in the community will feel welcomed, supported and understood.
Dementia Friends Awareness sessions help people to learn more about dementia and the small ways they can help.
Sessions last about an hour and can be delivered to groups as small as two up to 200.
I know finding out you have dementia can be a big shock but I believe life doesn’t stop after diagnosisPam Roberts
Pam Roberts, who lives with dementia, is the steering group chairman.
She says: “I know finding out you have dementia can be a big shock but I believe life doesn’t stop after diagnosis.
“We are so pleased to see the community showing their support for people with dementia, by becoming Dementia Friends and making small but effective changes within their organisations which help people affected by dementia feel understood and included.
“Look out for the stickers on business windows which show they are dementia friendly.
“The Local GP practices and the hospital are also working towards being dementia friendly too as are some of the local schools and clubs. From telling friends about the Dementia Friends programme to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts.
“There is still a lot more work to be done and the steering group would like to see lots more organisations and individuals becoming Dementia Friends.”
Alison Wakefield, Dementia Friendly Communities Officer for Alzheimer’s society, adds: “It is great to hear of the positive work happening in Longridge. The town is setting a high standard that I hope many more will follow across the country.
“Dementia affects people, their carers and families in different ways but one thing seems universal: people don’t always get the support or understanding they deserve.
“We need more communities like Longridge to help us break down the stigma surrounding the condition by joining our growing movement and unite for change, today.”
There is also a Freshers cafe for people with young onset dementia and Parkinson’s which takes place once a month at Tease Cafe in Berry Lane, Longridge.
The next dates are May 29, June 26 and July 31, 5pm until 8pm.
The steering group also has plenty of ideas for the future from dementia friendly singing groups, dancing sessions, craft groups, dementia friendly cinema screenings, quiet drinking times at the pub and lots more.
To coincide with Dementia Action Week from May 21 to May 27, there will be public Dementia Friends sessions on Monday, May 21, at 11am, 2pm and 7pm and also on Wednesday, May 23, at 2pm in the Heritage Centre in Berry Lane. Everyone should feel free to come alone to whichever one suits them best.
There is also a lot going on at Longridge Library, in Berry Lane, on May 22 from 11am until 1pm and May 24 from noon until 2pm.
These will be advertised on the group’s Facebook page.
Pam adds: “If you would like to do something for Dementia Action Week please let the group know and they will be happy to promote and support you.”
The steering group is interested to hear from anyone who is living with dementia or from the people who care for them to find out what they would most like to see in Longridge areas which would make life better for them
To get in touch email firstname.lastname@example.org or by messaging the group through Facebook Page – Longridge Dementia Friendly Community or on Twitter @longridgedfc
For more information on being a Dementia Friend visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk or for support visit www.alzheimers.org.uk