People in Croydon living with dementia are set to receive more care, support and understanding from across the community with the relaunch of the Croydon Dementia Action Alliance (CDAA).
The Alliance includes Croydon Council, Age UK Croydon, local health and social care services, emergency services, the voluntary sector and more. They will work in partnership with Alzheimer’s Society – the UK’s leading dementia charity – to raise awareness of the condition and make the borough inclusive for more than 3,800 people in Croydon estimated to be living with dementia, their families and carers.
The CDAA will encourage people in Croydon to become a Dementia Friend, an initiative to help people learn more about dementia and the small ways we can all help to create dementia-friendly communities.
For example, the best support to offer if they see someone who may be struggling or appear confused out in the community, at home, in a shop or on public transport and when to be patient in a queue. Further details about Dementia Friends can be found here.
Bhavin Patel, owner of Home Instead care homes provider, said: “I joined the Dementia Action Alliance in 2016. I attended a Dementia Friends session with the Alzheimer’s Society and became a dementia champion. I learnt more about the condition during the session as they helped me to walk in the shoes of someone living with dementia. It also included scenarios to help, encourage and challenge someone’s perception of dementia. I was taken aback by how informative and eye-opening the session was. As a CQC Outstanding rated care provider, we now offer the Dementia Friends sessions to all clients and their family members. We are also looking to run these sessions for the community and would encourage all to sign up to them.”
Shops, businesses, health and transport services can also make small changes to their environment to welcome people with dementia.
The Alliance will also signpost people caring for someone with dementia to the right support services.
Prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, the Alliance made significant progress in working to become a dementia friendly borough, a status reviewed annually by Alzheimer’s Society.
The CDAA will build on this progress with the development of a Croydon dementia strategy. This will be a shared vision to raise awareness of the condition and provide a range of services to support people with dementia and their carers.
Dementia 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.
Anyone affected by dementia can contact Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect support line for help or advice on 0333 150 3456 or visit www.alzheimers.org.uk
Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon, said: “Achieving Dementia Friendly status is one of my key pledges to ensure that our borough is a welcome and inclusive place for everyone. We want to listen to and act on the needs of residents who are living with dementia, and their carers, so that they can access services and get around their communities safely and easily. I hope as many of our residents and people working in the borough as possible will become a Croydon Dementia Friend.”
Councillor Yvette Hopley, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “The relaunch of Croydon’s Dementia Action Alliance will help us to work towards our commitment to make the borough a dementia-friendly borough. People can continue to live well with dementia, however, sadly many feel isolated. We will work hard to address this and other issues to make life better for all involved, including arranging Dementia Friends training for all Croydon councillors.”
Susan Underhill, programmes director at Age UK Croydon, said: “It’s great to see that the Croydon Dementia Action Alliance is being relaunched where we will be working together on the strategy towards a dementia-friendly borough along with the support of Councillor Hopley.”
Melanie Cressey, dementia-friendly communities coordinator at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It’s great to work with Croydon Dementia Action Alliance to support their plans for creating a dementia-friendly borough. A dementia friendly community is where people with dementia are understood, valued, supported, and confident they can contribute to community life and empowered to live a life they want in their community.”