All are invited to a host of community events to support the thousands of people in the borough living with dementia, and their carers.
Throughout Dementia Action Week, which runs from Monday 21 to Sunday 27 May, there will be a series of Dementia Friends information sessions to raise awareness of the condition, special films shown at the Museum of Croydon to bring back memories of growing up in the borough, and a tea dance for people experiencing dementia, and their carers.
The grand finale of the week of activities is a swinging ’60s event in Surrey Street Market on Friday 25 May, which will include a ‘wall of recall’ display provided by The Bat Foundation, for people to reminisce about the 1960s. The event will also offer an opportunity to brightly decorate walking aids and Zimmer frames.
Croydon’s Dementia Action Alliance – a partnership of local businesses, arts organisations, Croydon Council, fire brigade, police and health partners from One Croydon – has organised the events to help Croydon become a fully fledged dementia-friendly borough. This aims to help residents with dementia live safely in their communities by making others aware of the needs of those with the condition living nearby.
People are being encouraged to join the Dementia Friends initiative and learn more about dementia and the small ways they can help those with dementia. Shops, businesses, health and transport services can also make small changes to their layout and décor to welcome people with dementia.
Dementia is a progressive condition that can lead to memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving and communication. In Croydon, more than 3,250 over-65s are living with dementia. The disease mainly affects those in this older age group, however the onset of the condition can begin much earlier.
Nationally, dementia impacts the health of approximately 850,000 people. The health and social care costs to the economy are estimated at £26.3bn per year, but unpaid care provided by family and friends can be as much as £11.6bn annually.
Rachel Flowers, Croydon’s director of public health, said: “We want Croydon to be an inclusive and accessible borough for all. We have the third highest older population in London, with more than 50,000 residents aged 65-plus, which is why it’s vital that we’re better at meeting the needs of our residents in this age group.
“The One Croydon Alliance is already supporting people in need of health and social care to live more comfortably at home. The changes we are starting to make as a dementia-friendly borough will go some way to help people living with dementia, and their carers, to enjoy life with the additional support of the wider community.”