A wide ranging strategy has been launched which aims to help people in Wolverhampton with dementia to live the best possible life.

Dementia is a debilitating illness which is estimated to affect more than 3,000 people in the city - with that number expected to rise by over 50% by 2035. 

The Alzheimer's Society has called it the "biggest health crisis of our time", with statistics showing the condition was the primary cause of death in England and Wales last year; almost 1 in 8 people died from dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease in 2018. 

Wolverhampton's Joint Dementia Strategy 2019 to 2024 is an overarching document that incorporates the City of Wolverhampton Council and Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group’s commissioning intentions.

The strategy has been produced by a multi-agency workgroup including representation from the Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance and the voluntary and community sector as well as people with experience of dementia, both those living with the condition and their families and carers.

It places an emphasis on increasing early diagnosis to ensure early access to treatment and services, the development of a new integrated offer to enable targeted specialist care and support in people’s homes and in residential care, and the work that needs to be done to identify gaps in existing provision.

Councillor Linda Leach, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "Dementia is a terrible disease that can affect any one at any time. It has a major impact on the quality of life of those living with the condition; it can also have a physical, psychological, social and economic impact on their families and carers too.

"We and our partners in the Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance are determined to do all we can to support people living with dementia, and their families and carers.

"We are delighted that Wolverhampton is recognised as a Dementia Friendly City by the Alzheimer's Society, reflecting the steps that have already been taken to make Wolverhampton as friendly and welcoming as possible to people living with dementia.

"But there is much more we can and must do – and this strategy will help us do this."

Steven Marshall, Director of Strategy and Transformation Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "The strategy seeks to develop proactive services and ensure good quality care and support. It includes not just commissioned services to support people with a dementia diagnosis, but wider public services and workstreams to prevent dementia risk factors and promote services which will help people affected by dementia to live well in their community. 

"Ultimately, it will enable joint working across the voluntary, community, health and social care sectors, and aims to support people living with dementia and their families and carers to have the best possible life."

Wolverhampton's Joint Dementia Strategy 2019 to 2024 was approved by the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet recently.

For more information about the help and support available locally around dementia, please visit Dementia.

People who are worried about dementia can also contact the Alzheimer's Society for information and support either via the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 or by visiting Alzheimer's Society.

Wolverhampton was officially granted Dementia Friendly Community status by the Alzheimer's Society in December 2017 in recognition of the efforts being made to improve services for people living with dementia, and their families and carers. Meanwhile, Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance was the winner in the Dementia Friendly Community of the Year city or county category at the Alzheimer’s Society's Dementia Friendly Awards in 2018.

Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance, which comprises a wide range of organisations including retailers, businesses, health and the emergency services, charities, religious groups and education providers, meets on a regular basis to discuss ways in which they can improve services to better meet the needs of people living with dementia. For details, please contact Susan Eagle from the City of Wolverhampton Council, on 01902 555344 or via susan.eagle@wolverhampton.gov.uk. More information is also available at Dementia Action Alliance.