Local organisations are being urged to make a few small changes to make life easier for those diagnosed with dementia
There are 800,000 people with dementia in the UK and this number is set to grow to over a million by 2025. The financial cost of dementia in the UK is £23 billion each year and growing. Peterborough was awarded recognition as a community working to become dementia-friendly in 2013, and in 2014 the Peterborough Dementia Action Alliance (PDAA) was formed. The PDAA is made up of a number of organisations committed to transforming the quality of life of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them.
A steering group organises action to increase understanding of dementia and break down stigma. The Peterborough Dementia Friendly Community Group action plan is used to collate evidence and experience from those affected by dementia in one of eight categories: businesses and shops; arts, leisure, sports and recreation; young people; voluntary, faith and community organisations; fire and police; health and social care; housing and transport. Evidence is used to prioritise and target action. Individual action plans are submitted by members who pledge two to three actions they will take during a year. They are awarded the ‘working to become dementia-friendly’ window sticker and logo to promote their commitment. In June, the Peterborough Dementia Friendly Community Group elected Karon Walton from Hegarty Solicitors to be the new Chair of their steering group.
Karon says: ‘I am delighted that I have been appointed the new Chair for Peterborough and I hope to encourage statutory services, health care, doctors, education, transport, leisure, business and banks to join me to help make a difference, however small, to support the most vulnerable members of our community.’ Karon has a wealth of experience in supporting and assisting people living with dementia and their families through her work as Head of Court of Protection at Hegarty Solicitors. Karon specialises in helping her clients plan for the future by putting in place Lasting Powers of Attorneys (LPAs) in order that a family member can make financial and health decisions on their behalf in the future. Karon adds: ‘My advice to clients is that it is vital people consider their health and welfare wishes, get them down in an LPA, appoint an attorney and make sure that it is lodged with medical and social care organisations so that should they lose capacity, their wishes can be carried out.’
Karon also has first-hand knowledge of the difficulties that are faced by families dealing with dementia through her own family circumstances with a member of her close family being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2018. ‘There is so much good work already being done by many people and organisations locally, but what is really needed is for more organisations to make a pledge to implement two or three actions in their own organisations to make small changes. These changes could be things like dementia-friendly signs to make your organisation easier to navigate for people living with dementia, supportive customer service, accessible toilet facilities, spaces which are intuitive to use or providing a quiet space. ‘I want Peterborough to have a joined-up approach in order to make sure that the growing numbers being diagnosed with dementia will find their lives a little easier by the growing awareness and change for the better.’
Get involved If you would like to be involved, please contact Karon at or for more information visit www.hegarty.co.uk/dementia
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