Alzheimer’s Society, the UK’s leading dementia charity, has awarded its highest accolade to Croydon for the significant progress made to support residents living with dementia and their families.
The borough has been granted Working towards Dementia Friendly status by the charity. This means that local people, communities and businesses will benefit even more from the efforts of the organisations who form the Croydon Dementia Action Alliance (CDAA) to make our town a fully inclusive borough.
The CDAA is an active partnership that has made commitments for their own organisations to be dementia friendly, while also supporting work to raise awareness of dementia more widely.
Alzheimer’s Society grants the status to organisations that have met, or are taking steps to meet a number of criteria which underpin the three pillars of a dementia friendly community, which are people, place and process.
A dementia friendly community is a city, town or village where people with dementia are respected and confident they can contribute to community life. This helps to reduce stigma and make people feel understood and supported to be a valuable part of society.
There are over 3,600 people living with dementia in Croydon. It is a progressive condition that can lead to memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or communication. It is estimated that one person develops dementia every three minutes.
The CDAA offers Dementia Friends awareness sessions, which are about learning more about dementia and the small ways people can help. These actions can range from simply being patient if someone ahead in the supermarket is struggling, to something larger such as ensuring that buildings are welcoming to people who have dementia.
- More than 1,000 Croydon Council staff signed up as Dementia Friends – mandatory dementia sessions will soon be rolled out to all council employees.
- More than 400 dementia friendly Met Police officers in Croydon, with plans for all new recruits to attend Dementia Friends sessions.
- Croydon Health Services is offering new nurses, care staff and housekeeping at Croydon University Hospital the opportunity to attend Dementia Friends sessions, which will better support patients and their relatives.
- Croydon’s GP collaborative will support all 55 GP surgeries to be dementia friendly.
- A Dementia Friends session was held with 43 BRIT school students and their tutors.
- Working with the One Croydon Alliance to provide Dementia Friends awareness sessions to all staff.
From March 2019, the David Lean cinema in Croydon Clocktower will schedule dementia friendly screenings to enable carers and people living with dementia to enjoy going to the cinema in a welcoming environment.
Also throughout next year, the CDAA aims to work with those in other sectors such as the local arts, leisure, faith groups and housing, as well as raising awareness about the condition with more children and young people.
“We are delighted that the Alzheimer’s Society has recognised Croydon’s commitment to become a fully inclusive borough for residents living with dementia. The condition mainly affects those in the older age groups, however the onset of the condition can begin much earlier. We want to ensure that those people with additional needs feel understood, supported and a valuable part of society.”
Councillor Jane Avis, cabinet member for families, health and social care
Croydon GP Vaishali Shetty from Birdhurst Medical Practice, said: “I was so impressed with the Dementia Friends session that I got all of the practice staff to attend too.”
Rachel Soni, Programme Director at the One Croydon Alliance, “I have learnt so much since attending a Dementia Friends session. It has helped me explain dementia to my friends and family and I have also encouraged them to go on a course.”
Tracey Wells, Services Manager at Croydon Alzheimer’s Society, said, “Dementia is the biggest health and social care crisis facing society today. Someone develops the condition every three minutes and too many are facing it alone. Many people with dementia tell us they feel isolated and let down by their communities. It’s fantastic to see Croydon working hard to address this issue and work towards becoming dementia-friendly. It is great that so many organisations are supporting Dementia Friends and making life better for all involved.”
For further information about the Croydon Dementia Action Alliance (CDAA), visit www.croydon.gov.uk/dementia
Find out more about the One Croydon Alliance at www.croydonhealthservices.nhs.uk/one-croydon
Eligible residents aged between 40 and 74 are entitled to a Free NHS Health Check, which can detect the early signs of a range of problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and dementia www.croydon.gov.uk/healthsocial/phealth/healthchecks
Visit Croydon’s health website for tips and advice on what you can do to look after your mental wellbeing www.justbecroydon.org/be-happy
For further information on local services and support from Alzheimer’s Society contact firstname.lastname@example.org