With more of us living longer, Brent’s bid to become a ‘dementia friendly’ borough is of growing importance to more and more local people
The number of Brent residents aged 65 and over living with dementia is expected to rise by around 1,500 to just under 4,000 by 2030.
Dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life. A person with dementia may also experience changes in their mood or behaviour.
Community Action on Dementia
Brent Council is working with Community Action on Dementia (CAD Brent) to make Brent dementia friendly. CAD Brent supports local people living with dementia in a number of ways including a peer support project which offers one-to-one and group peer-to-peer support. The aim is for people with dementia to meet others, pursue interests and hobbies, share information and reduce social isolation.
Residents can join by referring themselves or be referred by a carer, family member or health professional.
Having recently been diagnosed with dementia, Hazel Robinson wanted to find local activities to keep active and connected and so she walked us round her neighbourhood. It was disappointing to see how few services there were for people living with dementia. The Brent Dementia Peer Support service has helped to overcome this.
Hazel explains, “The depression being associated with dementia was what brought me down. Now being involved in this project has brought me back to life.”
“The wonderful art class at the Brent Dementia Peer Support Project, Ashford Place, has given me a new lease of life after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It has been such a relief to come back to my love of drawing, especially in the company of others in the same boat.”
Support and advice
Dementia Care Kilburn aims to make Kilburn a ‘dementia friendly’ area by raising awareness and understanding of dementia, bust some myths associated and help to improve access to support and advice. “We are running a local public information campaign, free community workshops as well as a public event to be held in the summer of 2017. This is a fantastic opportunity for health, social care and the community to come together to make a difference for families affected by dementia. It is important to raise awareness and improve understanding of the condition so that everyone can play their part to support people and their families,” says Dr Amanda Craig, Local GP and Chair of Kilburn Primary Care Co-op Limited.
Brent also has a number of dementia cafés where people with dementia or their carers and relatives can drop in and get involved in a range of activities such as singing, dancing, arts and crafts and exercise classes.
Cllr Krupesh Hirani, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, said, “I’m delighted to see how much we have progressed in Brent in such a short space of time in developing a whole community response to Dementia. Dementia is a condition that blurs the boundaries between physical, mental and social needs. It is crucial that we address this important issue with wider engagement. As part of our Brent Health and Care Plan we have committed to making Brent a Dementia Friendly Borough by 2021 and we will work with CAD Brent to make our commitment a reality.”
For further information about dementia cafés, visit www.brent.gov.uk/events and click on ‘Dementia’ in the category box.