Rochdale councillors have taken a key step towards helping end the stigma surrounding dementia by becoming Dementia Friends and supporting Alzheimer's Society's vision of a dementia-friendly UK.
A Dementia Friend is someone who has gained a basic understanding about what it is like to have dementia and the small ways they can support someone living with the condition. Alzheimer's Society is calling for government and local authorities to help make communities more dementia friendly by encouraging people to become Dementia Friends.
'Dementia Friends is about giving people an understanding of dementia'
Councillor Janet Emsley, Cabinet Member for Culture, Health and Wellbeing said: "Rochdale councillors have signed up to show our support for Dementia Friends, and are encouraging people across Rochdale to do the same. With a growing number of people living with dementia, it's more important than ever we all have a better understanding of the condition. Dementia Friends is about giving people an understanding of dementia and the small things they can do that can make a difference to people living with dementia. From helping someone find the right bus to spreading the word about dementia, it can help make our local community a better place to live."
'We need everyone in Rochdale to play their part in making Greater Manchester dementia-friendly'
Rachel Yates, Stakeholder Relations Officer at Alzheimer's Society, said: "Dementia is one of the biggest health and care challenges our country faces - one that all of society must respond to. Too many people are not getting the support they deserve and are entitled to. Too many families are struggling to get by. We all have a part to play in improving the lives of people living with dementia. But we need everyone in Rochdale to play their part in making Greater Manchester dementia-friendly. Too many people with dementia live in communities that do not support and include them and with dementia a priority for Greater Manchester devolution, initiatives such as this help showcase the ways that community organisations and people can play their part in making Greater Manchester a great place for people with dementia to live."
As part of the historic Greater Manchester devolution agreement, dementia has been set as an early priority for health and social care reform in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority area. Sir David Dalton, Chief Executive of Salford Royal Foundation Trust, is leading a dementia transformation programme called 'Dementia United'. Over the next 5 years, this programme of work aims to bring together partners from across Greater Manchester to improve the lived experiences of people with dementia and reduce pressure on the health and social care system.
'Anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend'
Rachel continues: "We are delighted to see Rochdale councillors showing their support for Dementia Friends today. Less than half of us think we know enough about dementia. Dementia Friends isn't about creating experts, it's about helping people understand a little bit more about what it's like to live with the condition and then turn that understanding into action - anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend."
If you are interested in becoming a Dementia Friend or helping create more communities that are dementia friendly, go to Dementia Friends to find your nearest information session or to volunteer as a Dementia Friends Champion.
Alzheimer's Society is available for anyone affected by dementia and there are lots of ways the charity can help you. Call the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 or visit
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