Wolverhampton has been officially been recognised as a Dementia Friendly Community – meaning organisations across the City are working towards making people living with the condition feel better understood, respected and supported.
The Alzheimer’s Society granted Wolverhampton Dementia Friendly Community Status for 2017-18 after recognising the work taking place in the City to improve services for people living with dementia, and their families and carers.
It defines a Dementia Friendly Community as one where people living with dementia feel included and involved, have choice and control over their daily lives and are supported to contribute to the local community. It is also a place where other people are aware of dementia and understand the needs of people living with the condition.
The Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance, a partnership of dozens of local organisations which are working to become more dementia friendly, submitted the application for Dementia Friendly Community status earlier this month, and it was formally approved last week.
Councillor Sandra Samuels OBE, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “Dementia is a debilitating condition which affects nearly a million people in the UK, including around 3,400 residents in Wolverhampton.
“The council, together with ours partners, are determined to do all we can to improve the lives of people living with dementia, and the lives of their families and carers, by making Wolverhampton as dementia-friendly as possible, and so it is very pleasing that the Alzheimer’s Society has recognised us as a Dementia Friendly Community.
“We have only been able to achieve this thanks to the hard work and help and support of a wide range of local organisations, including retailers, businesses, health and the emergency services, charities, religious groups and education providers.
“I would encourage other organisations who wish to improve the help and support they can offer to people living with dementia to become a member of the Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance and help us become even more dementia friendly.”
Joe Edwards, Dementia Friendly Communities Officer for the West Midlands, said: “The Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance has put in a great amount of work to achieve Dementia Friendly Community status. The dementia-friendly action of member organisations will make a real difference to the lives of people affected by dementia in the City.”
Dr Cheryl Etches, Chief Nurse at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, part of the Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance, said: “Being granted this status is a brilliant achievement for everyone in Wolverhampton.
“The fact that we have got so many organisations working together to make Wolverhampton a place where people with dementia can feel included and understood, wherever they go, is great for the community.
“We have been working towards being a dementia-friendly Trust since 2010 as this is an area we are very passionate about.”
The recognition is officially defined as “working to become” a Dementia Friendly Community by the Alzheimer’s Society, in recognition that there is always more that can be done to improve a community for people affected by dementia. To retain the status in 2018-19, organisations in Wolverhampton must demonstrate further improvement upon this year’s achievements.
Meanwhile, people living with dementia, their families and carers and professionals are being invited to help shape health, wellbeing and social care services in Wolverhampton.
The City of Wolverhampton Council is carrying out a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment which looks at the current and future health needs of the local population and which will inform and guide service provision.
As part of the assessment, the council is carrying out a survey about the support available for people living with dementia, to understand what services are currently being used and what people think of them, and to identify any unmet needs of people with the condition.