Leeds took a step closer to becoming a dementia friendly city with an awareness raising event organised by Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS), which took place as part of Dementia Awareness Week 2012™.
The ‘Better lives for people with dementia in Leeds’ event was opened by Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member responsible for adult social care services. Chief executive Tom Riordan was also in attendance to talk about what the council is doing to become the best city for living well with dementia.
Leeds City Council made a formal commitment to becoming a dementia-friendly community back in March, as part of a nationwide initiative led by the Alzheimer’s Society and the Department of Health. The event yesterday brought together people from many organisations including community groups, the council, WYFRS, local NHS trusts, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, and Trading Standards. People with dementia and carers joined the event, which covered key priorities such as early diagnosis and support, staying safe at home, and supporting families and carers.
There are around 8,400 people with dementia in Leeds; but less than half of these are known and diagnosed. That means that people are missing out on getting early support, and medication that could potentially slow down the process of the condition.
Christine Bailey spoke about her personal experience of living with dementia, the importance of having the condition diagnosed and having support in place. She praised the day service which she attends at the Leeds branch of the Alzheimer’s Society.
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for adult social services said:
"Dementia is one of the greatest challenges facing our ageing society. People are living for longer, which is really good news, but it also means that more people and their families are faced with trying to cope with the effects of diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
"Our ambition is for Leeds to be the best city in the UK, which we want to take further by becoming the best city for living well with dementia.
“One of our biggest challenges will be changing the attitudes of people to dementia, which will help to make everyday life a better experience for people with the condition. In support of this, I am delighted that ten of our neighbourhood networks for older people have started to develop local support for people with dementia, which will help them to participate in mainstream activities in their communities.
“Yesterday’s event has brought us a step closer to making sure that people and families affected by dementia have excellent support, treatment and care throughout the dementia journey.”
Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council said:
“Dementia is possibly the condition that people fear the most in later life, but it is possible to live well with dementia.
“There is already a lot of good work taking place in Leeds to develop innovative services like memory clinics, peer support, mental health liaison teams in hospitals and intermediate care services that support people to leave hospital and return to their homes.
“We are committed to being a dementia-friendly community, and are working with our partners to help to raise public awareness of the condition, and start addressing some of the attitudes and lack of understanding that exist which create unnecessary barriers for vulnerable people and their families.”
Sarah Laidlow-Moore, senior prevention manager of WYFRS said:
“WYFRS embarked on a new project aimed at improving service delivery for people who may be experiencing any form of diagnosed dementia, undiagnosed memory loss or forgetfulness. The ultimate aim of the project is to ensure that these individuals and their carers have the information they need, shared in the most appropriate way, to reduce the potential for death, injury or personal loss through fire.
“This event has been a great opportunity to showcase our commitment and involvement in raising awareness of dementia. We look forward to continuing to work with all agencies and carers in the field to help raise awareness and help keep individuals safe within their own homes”.
For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578