Organisations come together to make Newport a dementia friendly city
Posted on Tuesday 13th June 2017
Members of Newport’s Public Services Board, One Newport, have come together to boost efforts to make Newport a dementia friendly city.
Some partners have already achieved or are seeking individual accreditation through the Alzheimer Society scheme, but through closer working the aim is to improve services and understanding of the needs of those with dementia more quickly and consistently across the city.
An ageing population presents new challenges and opportunities across many services. Dementia is a major concern with one in 14 people over 65 years of age reported to be living with the condition. The Alzheimer’s Society, within the National Dementia Vision for Wales, estimates that by 2021 the number of people with dementia across Wales will increase by 31per cent and by as much as 44 per cent in some rural areas.
Not only the person living with dementia is affected – it can also have a great impact on family members who take on a caring role for loved ones. All members of society will be touched at some point – if it is not immediate family, it will be extended family or friends.
Over the last 12 months considerable progress has been made to raise awareness of dementia and encourage organisations to adopt dementia friendly practices and support people living with dementia and their carers.
Progress includes the development of a dementia friendly city (DFC) implementation group, the introduction of DFC champions at a strategic level including councillors, AMs and MPs, developing a strong voice for dementia through support groups such as dementia friendly cafes and carer’s groups and generally raising the profile of these issues through the work of all partners.
Dementia friends awareness sessions have also been delivered to increase understanding of dementia and what life is like for people living with it. Since April 2014, over 2,000 people have taken part in awareness raising and become dementia friends and nearly 40 people have completed train the trainer sessions in order to become dementia champions.
A number of businesses and organisations across Newport have received dementia friends sessions including Monmouthshire Building Society, Newport City Council, Derwen, Seren, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Gwent Police.
Bringing communities and generations together is also key to supporting people living with dementia and St Joseph’s RC High School is the first school in Wales to be accredited as dementia friendly with all pupils and staff receiving dementia friends awareness training. The school will now host a summit bringing pupils and people living with dementia together to explore how the generations can help each other.
Councillor Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council and PSB member, said: “All the PSB partners are very much on board and recognise that by working together in a more coordinated way, we can have much more impact across the city.
“We will now formally drive forward efforts to become a dementia friendly city and will ensure it is included as a priority in the city’s new well-being plan.”
Phil Diamond, dementia theme lead for the Gwent transformation team, said: “Dementia will likely touch us all at some point and we will all know someone, if not now, in the future. With a little awareness we can understand the simple actions that can support a person with dementia. Newport PSB is shining the light across the city for other partners and business to follow and by investing in our communities today we can create the support needed by all of us tomorrow.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, said: “Both Gwent Police and my office have been presented with the official Alzheimer’s Society ‘Dementia Friendly Community’ kite mark in recognition of our commitment to support people living with dementia. We fully support the Dementia Friendly concept and a lot of work has been undertaken internally to ensure that my staff and staff and officers at Gwent Police fully understand the challenges faced by people living with dementia and the wider implications it can have. This complements and clarifies the high standards we already expect from all of our employees with regards to delivering a quality service with a focus on what matters to our communities.”
Detective Inspector Stephanie Blakemore said, “Nothing is more worrying or distressing than when a loved one or friend goes missing or doesn't return home when expected. For people living with or caring for someone with Dementia, this may be quite common. I recognised that along with our partner agencies, a more effective response was required to safeguard our communities. Back in March 2016 I implemented a new missing person's protocol for people living with Dementia across Gwent.
“The 'Herbert Protocol' (named after George Herbert, a War veteran of the Normandy landings, who lived with Dementia) asks carers, family members and friends to complete a form, recording all vital details about their loved one such as medication required, mobile numbers, places previously located or a photograph. This information can then be shared quickly with the relevant agencies should their loved one be reported as missing.
“The Herbert Protocol encourages care homes, carers, families, friends or neighbours, to hold information about the person with dementia that can help the police find them if they do go missing.
“Research into dementia shows that those who are suffering with this condition will often re-visit places they used to be familiar with many years ago. This scheme allows us to provide a quicker and more effective service, not only to the individuals but also to the families of those suffering with this condition."