High Wycombe is set to become the latest Dementia Friendly Community in Buckinghamshire – transforming into a more caring and supportive environment for people living with conditions that affect their memory.
The town will launch its Dementia Friendly initiative at Wycombe Library on Wednesday, September 28th, from 6.00pm to 8.00pm – it follows other communities, including Stokenchurch and Great Missenden.
Business and community groups have been invited to attend the event alongside health and social care representatives and local dignitaries, including Mayor of High Wycombe, Councillor Zia Ahmed.
The Dementia-Friendly Communities initiative aims to support local communities to work together and respond more positively towards individuals living with dementia or memory impairments. It will work to boost public awareness and understanding about how the condition can affect a person’s ability to complete daily activities. The initiative is being driven by NHS Aylesbury Vale and NHS Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Groups in partnership with Buckinghamshire County Council.
One in three people over the age of 65 will develop dementia in the UK, and this will affect their ability to do the things most of us take for granted – like socialising, shopping, banking, enjoying a meal out or driving.
Dementia Friendly Communities aim to create a supportive environment where people living with dementia can feel safe and secure, and can remain independent, active members of their communities for longer. As well as making people more aware of dementia, there are also practical improvements that can be made within communities, such as better signage and creating dementia friendly ‘safe places’.
Dr Rashmi Sawhney, Project Leader and NHS Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Group’s Clinical Lead for High Wycombe, said: “Buckinghamshire has an ageing population, which means the number of people living with dementia is increasing. It is really important we all improve our understanding of this condition, and the Dementia Friendly Community initiative can help us all achieve this, and provide more support to people in need at the same time.”
Dr Sian Roberts, Chiltern CCG’s Clinical Lead for Dementia, added: “We, as GPs, are working to improve early diagnosis and we would encourage anyone with concerns about their memory to contact their GP or the Buckinghamshire Memory Support Service. The sooner we can diagnose dementia, the sooner we can ensure people have the support they need to live fuller lives for longer. By becoming Dementia Friendly we can also make people more aware of the early signs of memory impairment and seek treatment sooner.”
Cllr Ahmed, Mayor of High Wycombe, said: “We want to create the kind of community in High Wycombe that is welcoming and supportive to people who live with dementia. I am confident the people of the town will embrace this very worthy ambition that will help so many of our residents to live fuller, more independent lives.”
Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing, Mike Appleyard, said: “Providing support to help people living with dementia retain their quality of life within the local community is a priority for the county council. The Dementia Friendly Communities initiative helps us to achieve this and should make a real difference to the lives of people in High Wycombe.”
Organisations including the Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK, and Carers Bucks will join Buckinghamshire County Council and health service representatives to host the event to raise awareness of the initiative and talk to local people about dementia and the challenges people living with the condition face on a daily basis.
For advice about dementia, contact your GP or get in touch with the Buckinghamshire Memory Support Service on 01296 331749 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also contact the Alzheimer’s Society’s National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 or email email@example.com.