Action to boost compassion and consideration to those suffering dementia is underway in Kirklees.
The Kirklees Dementia Action Alliance (KDAA) hopes to build ‘Dementia Friendly Communities’ across the district.
The alliance now boasts 30 members from a range of organisations including bus companies, taxi firms, police, fire and rescue services, retail outlets, local authority, charities, care providers and health trusts, faith groups, local associations, schools and the business sector.
It has already hosted an awareness and networking event in Meltham in a bid to make the Holme Valley village one of the first dementia friendly areas.
Work is underway to encourage and support members to improve environments for dementia sufferers and their carers.
These can be changes to signs, modifications to facilities and enhanced staff training.
Elaine Bostock, of KDAA, said: “We have an ambition to encourage every community in Kirklees to think about becoming dementia friendly. Whether it’s a business, service, manage a local community building, or run activities and events.
“One of the areas identified as being instrumental in creating dementia friendly communities is public understanding and awareness of dementia.
“To support this KDAA and many of our partners run dementia friends sessions for individuals, organisations and businesses.
“To date Kirklees has over 1,000 dementia friends, which is a fantastic number, and we aim to deliver more sessions and continue to raise awareness and support businesses and communities in becoming dementia friendly.
“We welcome the opportunity to provide dementia friends sessions to businesses and communities across Kirklees.”
KDDA has been working closely with Meltham GP Practice and the event at the Carlile Centre aimed to raise awareness of the work being done and encourage the local community, organisations and businesses to get involved.
One of the aims of the alliance is to have a Meltham model on every high street and in every community across Kirklees.
GP at the practice, Dr Sally Coldwell, said: “A close family member suffers with Alzheimer’s dementia and I’ve seen firsthand how the problems that can arise have a great effect on the patient and carer – often not knowing who to turn to for advice.
“I also care for a large patient group at Greenacres Care Home, many of them having dementia.
“It was with both these things in mind I decided to do a postgraduate course at Bradford University on dementia care.
“During my studies it made me realise how important the GP is in dementia care and often the first port of all for patients, family members and carers.
“I felt as a practice there was more we had to learn and more we needed to do to make us part of a Dementia Friendly Community.
“There is now a monthly support group for people living with dementia and their carers at the Meltham GP Practice.”
To find out more about the work in Meltham, becoming a Dementia Friendly Community or attending a dementia friends session, contact Elaine Bostock, Kirklees Dementia Action Alliance co-ordinator on 07854 028219 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to visit the website.