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Building dementia-friendly communities: a priority for everyone

Author(s)

GREEN Geraldine, LAKEY Louise, ALZHEIMER'S SOCIETY

Publisher(s):

Alzheimer's Society

The National Dementia Declaration for England (2010) identified that people with dementia want to live in communities that give them choice and control over their lives, provide services and support designed around their needs, and to feel valued and understood, and part of family, community and civic life. This report provides evidence of dementia-friendly communities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from the perspective of people affected by dementia. It uses the results of a survey of people with dementia (510 respondents) distributed by Alzheimer’s Society staff and other networks in Autumn 2012 (referred to as the DFCsurvey) to explore the barriers that people face in their community, how they would like to be engaged in their local area, and the support they need to enable them to do so. Overall, the report aims to provide guidance to areas that are looking to become dementia-friendly, and to provide extra evidence for those already committed to becoming dementia-friendly. Evidence from people with dementia and their carers is collated alongside examples of projects that are making a difference for people with dementia. This information is used both to provide a definition of a dementia-friendly community, and to suggest 10 key areas of focus for communities to consider in working to become dementia friendly. These 10 key areas are: challenge stigma and build understanding; accessible community activities; acknowledge potential; ensure an early diagnosis; practical support to enable engagement in community life; community-based solutions; consistent and reliable travel options; easy to navigate environments; and respectful and responsive businesses and services. While there are some excellent examples of communities that are adapting themselves to the needs required by dementia, many people with dementia do not feel supported and a part of their local area; and are not able to take part in activities that they enjoyed before they developed the condition. Loneliness, feeling isolated and lack of confidence were identified as major barriers. (Original abstract)

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