Dementia is one of the biggest challenges facing the nation today.
Some 670,000 people in England are believed to be living with dementia, including 3,600 people in Wolverhampton, with somebody diagnosed with the condition every four seconds worldwide. Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe many different types of dementia, particularly Alzheimer's Disease, Vascular Dementia and Dementia with Lewy bodies. It can affect anyone, and causes a decline in a person's cognitive (intellectual) abilities, affecting their memory, language, understanding, reasoning, problem solving and concentration, but each person's dementia is unique and so affects their lives in very different ways.
Cases of dementia increase with age, and as life expectancy increases, more and more people will be affected. Currently, one in 50 people between the ages of 65 and 70 have a form of dementia, compared to one in five over the age of 80. Around 15,000 people under 65 are living with dementia and this number is increasing. Diagnosis is often made at a later stage of the illness and this can affect a person's ability to make choices and decisions.
Dementia does not just have a devastating effect on the individual, but also their families and friends. An estimated 21 million people know a close friend or family member with dementia - that's nearly half of the population, and it's important that they get the help and support they need to carry out their caring role. Life should not stop because of dementia. People with Dementia and their family and carers may need support to enable them to carry out activities and engage in relationships in a positive way so that they can continue to lead a full and active life.
Wolverhampton recognised as Dementia Friendly Community
The Alzheimer's Society granted Wolverhampton Dementia Friendly Community Status for 2017-18 after recognising the work taking place in the City to improve services for people living with dementia, and their families and carers. Joe Edwards, Dementia Friendly Communities Officer for the West Midlands, said: "The Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance has put in a great amount of work to achieve Dementia Friendly Community status. The dementia-friendly action of member organisations will make a real difference to the lives of people affected by dementia in the City."
Help and support
A range of organisations offer help and support for people with dementia and their families and carers. They include:
- The Alzheimer's Society
- Dementia UK
- NHS Choices offers detailed information about the condition.
- In Wolverhampton, Dementia Cafes offer emotional support, information and the opportunity for people living with the impact of dementia to talk about their situation.
Improving dementia services in Wolverhampton
Already a great deal of good work has taken place locally to improve the lives of people with dementia and their families.
Businesses, organisations, community groups and individuals have come together as Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance to support the city's drive to become a Dementia Friendly Community, creating a city in which people with dementia receive the help and support they need to live their lives to the full.
But there is much more to be done, and to develop this good work further, a number of organisations including Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group, Wolverhampton City Council, the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and the Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust have come together to shape a Joint Dementia Strategy, which will be published shortly.
The strategy will set out the work which will take place over the next two years to bring about further improvements in care and support for people with dementia, and is based upon what local residents say they need from services in Wolverhampton.
Becoming dementia aware
Nationally, more than one million people have signed up to become Dementia Friends through the Alzheimer's Society, and in doing so have developed a greater understanding of dementia, and what can be done to help people who are living with the condition. Anyone can do this - please visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk for more details.
Wolverhampton's Dementia Cafes are a monthly meeting for people with dementia or memory loss, their families and friends.
The Alzheimer's Society, in partnership with the City of Wolverhampton Council, organises free Dementia Cafes for people living with dementia and their carers.
Dementia cafés offer a place where people living at home with diagnosed dementia, their friends and carers can meet for informal support. Cafes provide a welcoming environment where everyone understands the challenges of the condition or caring for someone who is living with it. The group is run by Alzheimer's Society trained Staff and Volunteers; there is usually a talk on a relevant subject, interesting activities and information on local services. Drinks and biscuits are provided. The groups are very informal and friendly and we welcome new people. The cafes do not provide personal care or act as a 'drop-off' service for carers.
For further information please contact Alzheimer's Society, Castlemill, Burnt Tree, Dudley, DY4 7UF Email: email@example.com or Telephone: 0121 521 3020.
Where: Linden House, Tettenhall Road, WV6 0DD
When: 1st Tuesday of the month
Time: 10am - 12pm
Where: Wednesfield Community Centre, Well Lane, Wednesfield, WV11 1XT
When: 2nd Tuesday of the month
Where: Wolverhampton Street, Bilston, WV14 0LT
When: 1st Friday of the month
Time: 2pm- 4pm