Wolverhampton is bidding to become one of the first Dementia Friendly Communities in the country and the city will shortly stage its first Action Alliance Forum, bringing together local organisations which want to become more dementia friendly.
Wolverhampton City Council took up the Prime Minister's Challenge on Dementia, calling for the development of a number of Dementia Friendly Communities around the country, in 2012. Since then, health and social care providers, local businesses, religious groups and other organisations have worked tirelessly to improve services for people living with dementia.
Councillor Steve Evans, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "A Dementia Friendly Community is something that every village, town and city should aspire to become. It is a place where people with dementia are empowered to have high aspirations and feel confident, knowing they can contribute and participate in activities that are meaningful to them
"If Wolverhampton is to become a Dementia Friendly Community we need to ensure that local organisations are able to work towards a common and consistent vision based on what we know is important to people affected by dementia - and the Action Alliance Forum will make sure this happens.
"We've already had a very positive response from various organisations to the establishment of the Action Alliance Forum, and we'll be focusing on 10 key areas in which they can become more dementia friendly.
"These include challenging stigma surrounding dementia, ensuring early diagnosis of the condition and offering practical support to enable people with dementia to be a part of everyday life."
Since taking up the challenge in 2012, a number of practical measures have already been put in place to make Wolverhampton more dementia friendly, including the development of an extensive dementia training programme for health professionals and other staff and specialist person centred training to create 80 "dementia champions" among people who support those living with dementia.
Three more dementia cafes were also established in the city, bringing the total to 6. They provide an important chance for people living with dementia and their carers to meet, share their experiences and find out about the help and support available to them.
Meanwhile, a dedicated facility for people living with dementia has been set up at Blakenhall Resource Centre, providing long and short stay beds and day services, while New Cross Hospital has a specialist dementia ward and an outreach dementia team which works across all wards.
More work is planned in the coming months with Wolverhampton aiming to be named a Dementia Friendly Community by 2015, and Councillor Evans added: "There are around 3,000 people living with dementia in Wolverhampton and this figure is expected to reach 4,500 by 2030, and so it is vital that we as a city support people living with dementia and recognise their needs."
The first Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance Forum will be held at the Civic Centre on Wednesday (9 April 2014).
- released: Friday 4 April, 2014