Understanding dementia: how you could help make life better for sufferers
Researchers and health professionals across Dorset are working together in the hope of making the county more dementia friendly.
During Dementia Awareness Week, which starts today, members of the public are being urged to be patient and understanding when dealing with people with dementia.
In 2012 Dorset had one of the lowest rates of dementia diagnosis in the UK but now rates are up to 43 percent, said Dr Michelle Heward, from the Bournemouth University Dementia Institute (BUDI).
In Dorset the number of people aged 65 or over living with dementia is predicted to rise from just under 8,000 in 2010 to more than 11,700 by 2025, according to the Dorset Health Scrutiny Committee.
And nationally the Alzheimer Society predicts the number of people living with Dementia in the UK is expected to reach one million by 2021.
In 2012, a partnership involving ten different agencies across the county was launched with the aim of creating seven dementia friendly communities in Dorset.
Dr Heward said: “Dementia friendly communities are essential for people with dementia to be included in their local community without fear of stigma.
“The aim is to work with people with dementia and their carers to improve their quality of life and open access to services for people with dementia and their carers and for people working within the field.”
BUDI, which has been tasked with evaluating the partnership, provides various services for people with dementia and their carers. They include the BUDI Orchestra Project, which sees people with dementia working alongside professional musicians.
The group also facilitates for people with dementia to visit local schools to share their experiences in a bid to raise awareness and encourage people to be more understanding.
Dr Heward said: “We hope to give people just a little bit of understanding about what dementia is and how it can affect somebody.
“It means people might be a bit more patient when somebody is in a shop trying to find their coins.
“Maybe someone who knows more about dementia will be able to help them.”
On Wednesday, May 20, Bournemouth University is holding an open meeting to evaluate the impact of dementia friendly communities.
Dr Heward said: “The BUDI public open meeting is a fantastic opportunity for anyone from the local community to come along and hear more about this work locally and engage in this important discussion.”
The meeting will be held at Bournemouth University’s Executive Business Centre on Holdenhurst Road and will start at 12pm.
For more information, and to register for your free place, go to budi-public-open-meeting.eventbrite.co.uk or call 01202 962771.