In February 2009, The Department of Health launched a new National Dementia Strategy (NDS) which set out the future direction for statutory organisations to take with their planning and resource management activities. It also provided a mandate for community stakeholder engagement in respect of dementia and those affected by it.
The Alzheimer’s Society is helping to establish (but not own) a new multi-organisation forum to work towards furthering the 17 National Dementia Strategy objectives.
As dementia is a progressive condition, different people and organisations may find themselves engaging with people with the condition or becoming aware of someone with the condition at different stages. The objectives have been set to recognise the needs and priorities at the different stages. However, what is sure, is that best practice at any stage can positively affect the nature of the rest of the journey. On that basis, the whole journey is of interest to most of us.
Meeting three times a year, the group will be the catalyst for the exploration of new initiatives, good practice dissemination and opportunities for organisations to recognise the existence of dementia in their operation and to address the effects of dementia upon the daily lives of communities and people within them.
The group will be inclusive and people with dementia and carers will be among the membership. The membership will be a cross section of East Midlands’ people, organisations and communities.
The provisional Terms of Reference are:
- To accept the National Dementia Strategy objectives as a 17 item agenda as a basis for all group activity, enabling, a rolling capacity building
- To help communities and people within them to be more aware of dementia, more able and better trained to deal with presentations of dementia as a community based issue.
- To be a catalyst for organisations to adopt dementia as an issue which affects them and to seek dementia friendly practices in their services or procedures.
- To inform the statutory and voluntary sector organisations planning and prioritising processes aiding inclusion, reach, access and reflecting the diverse nature of communities.
- To provide a platform for learning and development at an individual, organisational and community level.
- To develop other relevant links such Older Peoples Forum and carer networks.
The group will not be a talk-shop, none of us have time for that. It will identify organisational or community developments, collaborative opportunities or educational activity that can be slotted under the appropriate NDS objective and steadily build a portfolio of practical improvements or gains over time.
I am inviting you to be a member of the group whose first meeting is in Newark on 14th May at 10.30 – 2 pm, lunch provided and it is at The Holy Trinity centre although an alternative venue is being sought for the next meet.
Part of this invitation is for you to consider your own networks and for relevant people who may be interested in membership of this group, they would be welcome. It does not matter whether you or your networks have a local focus, a county or East Midlands remit, we need them all for best input to be achieved.
An example of how one activity which has grown from this can be put into practice is some work with Swinderby Parish Council in Lincolnshire. The village is to host 2 dementia awareness sessions for key people and organisations from within the village infrastructure so that when a person with dementia experiences problems, perhaps it can be handled differently, at an earlier stage and certainly with different outcomes some of which are quite extreme and have included being taken away by the police. This could be spread across the whole of the East Midlands and make it the most dementia aware region in the country.
This would be especially so if organisations bought into it. Often, developments or improvements do not necessarily cost money or take extra time; they often just need the knowledge and the will to see it through. Did you know for instance that people with dementia can be sensitive to door or carpet colour? This could mean the difference as to whether they enter a building or not. If organisations were aware of this they may select different colours to make their premises dementia friendly.
Please could you consider this invitation and let me know one way or the other whether you would be willing to at least attend an initial meeting to explore its potential.
For more details or to respond to this invitation, contact
Ian Howarth, Area Manager – East Midlands, Alzheimers Society
East Midlands area office
Northgate Business centre
Tel: 01636 642804
Fax: 01636 642805