Leiston as a Dementia Friendly Community
In 2018, Leiston-cum-Sizewell was recognised as working towards becoming a ‘dementia friendly’ town through a national scheme run by the Alzheimer’s Society. The aim of the scheme is to improve the community’s understanding of dementia and increase the support available to people living with dementia and family carers.
Dementia is an umbrella term for conditions which affect the brain. These conditions, such as Alzheimer ’s disease, may result in problems such as memory loss or finding it difficult to plan your day or do every day activities such as shopping. There are over 100 people living with dementia in the Leiston area and this number is due to rise in the future. It is possible for people to ‘live well’ with dementia if they have enough support and understanding and the opportunity to continue to do the things they enjoy.
Under the Alzheimer’s Society scheme, becoming a dementia friendly community means:
• Empowering people with dementia and recognising their contribution.
• Businesses and services that respond to customers with dementia.
• Ensuring that activities include people with dementia.
• Easy to navigate physical environment.
• Befrienders helping people with dementia to engage in community life.
• Challenging stigma and building awareness.
• Appropriate transport.
• Maintaining independence by delivering community based solutions.
• Ensuring early diagnosis and personalised and integrated care is the norm.
• Shaping the community around the views of people with dementia and their carers.
The Leiston Dementia Project was set up with the support of grants from Suffolk Coastal District Council (now East Suffolk Council) and Suffolk County Council to talk to local people and organisations about what could be improved. One of the results of this was setting up the Leiston Good Neighbour Scheme to provide volunteers to visit people who are socially isolated or who need support to join in local activities. Local organisations and businesses such as the Long Shop Museum have also had dementia awareness information sessions and in 2018, all of the Town Councillors became ‘dementia friends’.
If you would like to get involved or find out more do email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a note at the Town Council Offices and we will get in contact with you.