The city of Wolverhampton is a Dementia Friendly Community, demonstrating that organisations are working together to make people living with the condition feel better understood, respected and supported.
People who are worried about dementia can contact the Alzheimer's Society for information and support either via its Dementia Connect phoneline, open 7 days a week on 0333 150 3456, or by visiting Alzheimer's Society.
It continues to host virtual weekly dementia cafes, with a plan to return to face to face sessions as soon as it is safe to do so. And an online community forum – Dementia Talking Point – allows families to share their experiences with other people affected by dementia.
Meanwhile, the Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) held a series of events during the recent Dementia Action Week to highlight the issue and support people living with dementia in the city.
The highlights included a virtual bingo fundraiser for DAA members which raised over £300 for the Alzheimer’s Society, Memory Matters offered telephone sessions for people with memory concerns and carers, Compton Care delivered virtual Dementia Friends sessions and the Grand Theatre produced a video highlighting the importance of being dementia friendly.
Karen Perry, local children’s lead for the DAA, supported the production of a video tutorial showing children and young people how to make colourful tactile quilts, which can be seen a youtube, Green Square Accord hosted 2 coffee afternoons with residents to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society, while Michelle Monnes-Thomas and the team at FBC Manby Bowdler also raised vital funds with a competition to guess how many sweets are in the jar.
School pupils got involved too, including children at St Anthony's Catholic Primary Academy who improved and used their knowledge of dementia through prayers, letters and art work which they shared with residents and carers at Highcroft Residential Home. Meanwhile, children in Reception did craft activities whilst listening to music, as they learned the power of music for those living with dementia.
Headteacher Tamsin Davis said: "The content of their work demonstrated our pupils' understanding of the need for dignity for those with dementia and the need for empathy and compassion towards those who care for them. Their learning will support our journey towards recognition as a Dementia Friendly School."
Meanwhile, the team of volunteers who have delivered Dementia Friends information sessions to pupils in schools across Wolverhampton are hoping to start up again in the autumn term.
Jon Crockett, chair of Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance, said: "It’s been an incredibly difficult year for those living with or supporting those with dementia, and through Dementia Action Week we wanted to let people know that the Dementia Action Alliance has still been there doing what we could to help.
"Members have had to adapt and change the way they do things but they have risen to the challenge. For Dementia Action Week we put together an exciting programme which although different to our usual offering showed the commitment and enthusiasm and flexibility in trying to support those living with dementia and those who care for them."
Councillor Linda Leach, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, added: "We and our partners are determined to do all we can to improve the lives of people living with dementia, and the lives of their families and carers, by making Wolverhampton as dementia friendly as possible.
“It is great to see that, despite the ongoing pandemic, people are still able to access the help and support that they need, and that organisations across the city are working hard to ensure Wolverhampton continues to be a Dementia Friendly Community.”
People can find out more about the support available locally by visiting Dementia. For more details of Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance, please contact Susan Eagle from the City of Wolverhampton Council, on 01902 555344 or via firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Dementia Action Alliance.
To become a Dementia Friend, visit Dementia Friends.
The Alzheimer's Society granted Wolverhampton Dementia Friendly Community Status for the third year running in 2020 after recognising the work taking place to improve services for people living with dementia, and their families and carers.
It defines a Dementia Friendly Community as one where people living with dementia feel included and involved, have choice and control over their daily lives and are supported to contribute to the local community. It is also a place where other people are aware of dementia and understand the needs of people living with the condition.