Services in Bucks focus on becoming more dementia-friendly

  |  Published: May 18th 2015

Buckinghamshire County Council and the South Central Ambulance Service are among organisations leading the way in promoting greater staff knowledge and understanding of dementia so that they can improve their service to people with dementia and those who care for them.

Staff awareness training is one of the initiatives being highlighted in Dementia Awareness Week (18-22 May) to draw attention to the ways that life can be made easier for people with dementia and their loved ones.

Buckinghamshire County Council will be holding a series of information and training opportunities for staff over the week. As a wide range of the services delivered by the Council and their contractors (for example the laundry service) are used by people with dementia, this is an ideal way to make a difference to the quality of service they receive.

This initiative forms part of the Council's wider Dementia-Friendly Communities project, which seeks to develop the ways communities support people with dementia by involving local services, voluntary organisations and businesses. Stokenchurch became the first community to join the project in January 2015, followed by Great Missenden last month, and with Buckingham planned to join in July.

With one in three people over the age of 65 in the UK expected to develop dementia, it is likely that most of us will know someone with dementia or memory impairment. Martin Tett, Leader of Bucks County Council and Chairman of the county's Health and Wellbeing Board, spoke about the Dementia-Friendly Communities project: "Independence is very important to people with dementia and memory impairment, but there are confronted with many challenges. As well as the problems of getting around the neighbourhood, there's sometimes a lack of understanding of their needs that can make ordinary activities unnecessarily difficult.

"We want the Dementia-Friendly Communities project to be the start of a sea-change in Buckinghamshire in making life that bit easier for people with dementia and their carers. With the NHS Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Groups, we've already improved early diagnosis and provided a Dementia Support Service in the Buckingham locality and a Memory Advice Service in the rest of the county."

Early diagnosis is really important, as it gives people access to the right treatment and a chance to plan for the longer term. Annet Gamell, Chief Clinical Officer at Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "For Buckinghamshire, in 2014 more than 6,500 people over the age of 65 are recorded as having diagnosed dementia and this is projected to stand at over 8,000 by 2020. We've been working to speed up diagnosis, but we all need to improve our understanding and awareness of dementia."

The Alzheimer's Society and Age UK are among other organisations that will be holding information sessions for the general public around the county during Dementia Awareness Week so that people can get advice on living with dementia and learn what options are available for getting support.

Public awareness sessions during Dementia Awareness Week

Tuesday 19 May

10am-1pm Alzheimer's Society dementia awareness session – John Hampden Surgery, 97 High Street, Prestwood, HP16 9EU

John Hampden Surgery is working towards becoming dementia friendly and received an award of £15,000 to go towards this aim, as part of a Thames Valley Strategic Clinical Network competition to improve the experience of care through the design of GP practices and by raising awareness and knowledge of dementia among its staff. 


12.30-2pm Alzheimer's Society buffet lunch and Dementia Friends session and 'singing for the brain' – Aylesbury Rugby Football Club, Weston Road, Weston Turville, HP22 5RN

Wednesday 20 May

10am-12 noon coffee morning - Safe Haven Dementia Centre, Totteridge Baptist Church, Hillary Road, High Wycombe – a chance to look round the centre and speak to staff

Thursday 21 May

10am-4pm Alzheimer's Society Dementia Community Roadshow - Aylesbury Market Square – with the Safe + Well mobile unit giving advice on assistive technology and household aids

10.30-11.30am Alzheimer's Society awareness information – Buckingham Library, Verney Close, Buckingham MK18 1JP

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