The Colchester Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) has recently received notification that they are now recognised as Working Towards Being A Dementia Friendly Borough by the Alzheimer’s Society.
The DAA has grown since November 2016 to include more than 40 businesses, community groups and public sector organisations who are working to implementing positive actions to provide better access to services for people living with dementia.
More organisations across the borough are now being urged to support the Colchester Dementia Action Alliance (DAA), the collaboration partnership initiated by ONE Colchester, the strategic partnership for the district, and implemented by organisations including Colchester Borough Council and Community360.
September is also World Alzheimer’s Month, the international campaign to raise awareness of the the challenges and the stigma that surrounds dementia, with World Alzheimer’s Day being marked on 21 September.
Manypeople in Colchester are living with dementia, and with an increasing and ageing population in the borough, the rate of dementia will increase along with demand for local dementia-friendly services.
“Small changes can make an important difference in people’s lives. We recognise that by working in partnership and encouraging local people and groups to commit to simple actions, they can improve the experience of residents and carers.” Said Tracy Rudling from Colchester DAA and Chief Executive Officer at Community360.
She added: “A business may conducts a review of their premises and access to them, a charity could offer additional training to their staff team or a neighbour could offer assistance to someone they know.
Dementia-friendly communities are vital in helping people live well with dementia and remain a part of their community.
A number of businesses have already attended information sessions to become Dementia Friends and I would encourage all businesses in the town to get behind this scheme and take up the training opportunities we are rolling out.
The training gives an idea of what it is like to live with dementia. It encourages simple changes like being more patient, what signs to look out for and what different surrounding can trigger for someone with dementia.
Becoming a dementia-friendly community doesn’t always mean a big investment. Often it is just about communities assessing the way they deliver services and changing the way they respond.”
Kimberley Pash, Branch Manager at Helping Hands Colchester said “We became members of the Colchester DAA as we believe in providing the best possible life for people with dementia. By ensuring that people with dementia have access to the community enables them to still enjoy all of the things they previously could.”
She added: It is very important to us that we help all of our dementia customers with Helping hands to live well and I would encourage other businesses to get involved.”
Community360, together with Colchester DAA members are organising a special event on World Alzheimer’s Day 21stSeptember from 12 noon to 2pm in Culver square, Colchester, with the objective of raising awareness of dementia, how to join the Colchester DAA and how to become a Dementia Friend.
“This event aims to raise the profile of the Dementia Friends Programme and the Colchester Dementia Action Alliance. Everyone is welcome to come along to find out more information on what we do.” Said Tracy.
Cllr Mike Lilley, Portfolio Holder for Communities, Wellbeing and Public Safety, added: “This is a tremendous example of local organisations working together to help raise awareness and improve the lives of those affected by dementia.
“By understanding what it means to live with dementia, we can begin to make a huge difference to someone’s quality of life and our community even more dementia-friendly.
“I would encourage everyone to support World Alzheimer’s Month and for more organisations to join Colchester DAA and do more to help those living with this life-changing condition.”
Membership of the Colchester DAA is completely free. Members however do have to commit to 3 actions so that people with dementia and carers have improved access to services. It can be actions that are ongoing or actions that have been implemented in the past. They can then receive peer support, access to free training and benefit from the opportunity to take part in local events and campaigns.
Further information on how to join the Colchester DAA can be found at www.dementiaaction.org.uk