Dementia Supportive Communities in Wales

The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones (pictured) was present at aCarwyn Jonesn event on 16 April that saw the announcement of a new programme to help make a difference to the lives of people living with dementia in Wales.

The announcement to create dementia supportive communities was made at an event in the National Assembly for Wales where the Director for Alzheimer’s Society in Wales, the Older People’s Commissioner, the Minister for Social Services and the Shadow Health Minister all spoke and pledged their support for the programme.

Alzheimer’s Society is working in partnership with organisations in Wales including the Welsh government and the Older People’s Commissioner to create dementia supportive communities. The aim is to increase dementia awareness and change the way the nation thinks, talks and acts. Over 44,500* people in Wales are estimated to be living with dementia, and this is predicted to rise to almost 56,000 people* by 2021. With this increase in mind Alzheimer’s Society are calling for people across Wales to support those living with dementia in their local community.

Sue Phelps, Director of Alzheimer’s Society in Wales, said: ‘We seek nothing less than the creation of a social movement to change quality of life for people with dementia and their families. A dementia supportive community requires a change in attitudes and behaviours towards dementia. We want people in the local community to have a better understanding of dementia, and the problems people face.’

Julie Bardell, whose father had Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, describes what a dementia supportive community means to her. She said Following my mum’s death in 2006, my father lived alone at home fully supported by me and my brother prior to his move into residential care where he spent his remaining two and a half years. His daily living was greatly assisted by the supportive community of Flint, North Wales, who were always willing to give him a hand if ever he became a little confused.  There were four businesses in the town that were exemplary with their support, one of which was the local Tesco Express. Dad shopped here every day and the staff were very aware of his day to day shopping needs and were always on hand to assist him if required.  On occasions he would return to the store forgetting he had already made his purchases on a prior, but the staff would gently remind him that he was in earlier always treating him with kindness and respect. We were told we could always return any unwanted items he purchased in error’.