Views sought on how to make Saffron Walden more dementia friendly

13:20 15 January 2014

People with dementia and their carers are invited to enjoy a cup of tea and find out more about Saffron Walden’s plans to become a ‘Dementia Friendly Community’.

The Memory Café event, being run by Alzheimer’s Society, will be held at Saffron Walden Town Hall Committee Room next Tuesday (January 21) from 10am to 12noon.

Attendees will hear from Graeme Whippy, a Great Sampford resident who is group disability lead at Lloyds Banking Group, and former GP, Dr Andrew Nicolson, who will be discussing and asking for feedback on their aims. Among the questions to be considered will be:

• What difficulties do people with dementia face on a daily basis?

• How helpful are people when people with dementia are experiencing difficulties?

• What could the local shops and businesses do better to support people with dementia?

• How aware do people with dementia and carers feel that people in Saffron Walden are about of the impact of dementia on local families?

• Are there services and businesses in the town that you help people with dementia and what is it that they do?

A dementia-friendly community is a city, town or village where people with dementia are understood, respected, supported, and confident they can contribute to community life.

Marion Howell, Alzheimer’s Society services manager, said: “By committing to change, communities can give people with dementia the confidence to be part of local life and stay independent for longer.

“At the Memory Café, we want to start to work towards ensuring people get the support they need in the local community. We are aware that this will not happen overnight, but we aim to start with small, concrete steps towards becoming dementia friendly.”

Dr Nicolson said: “We would like to hear from people who are experiencing or supporting people with any form of dementia on just what it is like to undergo the process of being diagnosed with dementia and the experience of living in Saffron Walden with this.

“What has gone well for you here? What has not met your expectations? How can the various organisations, from Tesco to health commissioners and the local council help you? We need your views so we can, with your help, make a difference.”

Mr Whippy, who is from Great Sampford, said: “The fact is that Saffron Walden and its surrounding villages has an older than average population which means that more and more people are going to be affected by dementia as the years pass. We must not stand by and let people who have contributed to our community become shunned by it.

“It’s down to all of us to ensure that people living with dementia are treated with dignity and respect, are given as much independence as possible whilst being protected and kept safe.”

• To find out more about the Memory Café event, call 01279 427522 or e-mail eppingforest@alzheimers.org.uk

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