A MAJOR drive is underway to make Redditch a dementia friendly town.
The Redditch Friends Together group is calling on residents, businesses and organisations to pledge to play their part in making the borough a better place to live for those living with the condition.
The group is made up of people with dementia who meet weekly to discuss how to raise awareness of the issue and encourage others to commit to the campaign.
It is estimated more than 1,300 people in Redditch will be living with dementia by 2026 – an increase of more than 77 per cent on 2008. However rather than being seen as a barrier, more and more people are being supported to live as independently as possible with the condition in their own homes.
Janet Little, from the Alzheimer’s Society, said as a result public and businesses needed to be more aware of the signs of dementia and be ready to offer support.
“Becoming a dementia friendly town is good for Redditch, not just those living well with dementia in the community, but it will make a better community for everybody, better customer service for businesses and it keeps people out of hospital.” she said.
“This problem isn’t going to go away it’s just going to increase and as a community we need to stand up and say we are part of this.”
To help make Redditch a dementia friendly place, the group is urging residents, businesses, GP surgeries and other organisations to sign up to the national and local Dementia Action Alliance and train staff as dementia champions, which is provided for free.
They then can train others to become dementia friends. Businesses are also encouraged to look at how they can adapt their service to support their customers with dementia, such as Tesco which nationally is considering the introduction of an additional assistance check-out.
Group member Sandra Hunt told the Standard how she had struggled while paying for goods in a shop.
“The shop assistant was very abrupt with me and the person behind me wanted to know how long I was going to take. She had no patience with me I was just inconveniencing her but I couldn’t remember the value of the money and I wasn’t given time to sort it out.” she said.
“Both the shop and the public failed me in their lack of understanding of what was happening.”
Pat Isherwood, another of the group’s members, added: “We aren’t going to take anything away from the community we want to give to the community and be part of it.
“Anyone of us can still contribute in our own way.”
For more information on how to sign up to the dementia action alliance email email@example.com or call 07833 146 207.