Residents, doctors and councillors are pledging their support towards an upcoming community scheme that aims to make Diss a dementia-friendly town.
Age UK Norfolk will launch the Diss Dementia Friendly Community Project, the third of its kind in the county, on Tuesday, June 24 to help raise awareness and understanding of dementia and improve the overall quality of life for people afflicted with the condition.
Maddie Copley, dementia project representative at Age UK Norfolk, said: “Dementia is everyone’s concern so we are delighted that Diss is taking a wholehearted community approach to support people with dementia and their carers.
“Although they are still in the early stages, there has been a very good response to the projects within these communities.”
According to Age UK Norfolk, research has shown that south Norfolk is particularly affected by the condition, with parishes like Diss and Roydon identified as having an older population than the county average and consequently having a higher proportion of people who are affected by dementia.
GPs in Diss have expressed their interest in addressing the issue and are looking to get involved with the community project as well.
The project, which will be officially launched by county councillor Jenny Chamberlin at the United Reformed Church, is placing a particular emphasis on removing the negative stigma surrounding dementia and helping people living with the condition to engage with their community.
“Without this awareness within a community, everyday activities can become problematic for people as their condition progresses. Just a basic awareness of dementia can make all the difference,” Ms Copley added.
At the launch, Age UK Norfolk will showcase the Dementia Friendly Community Toolkit, a programme designed to train local businesses and other organisations to adapt their regular services, so that they are more accessible to dementia patients.
This was a successful area of improvement in Swaffham and Wymondham, where similar dementia community initiatives were deployed in 2013.
In addition, Lead Admiral Nurse for Norfolk, Zena Aldridge, and Willie Cruickshank from the Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance are hosting talks for dementia sufferers and their families.
This follows Norfolk County Council’s backing of Dementia Awareness Week, which took place last week between May 18-May 24.
Dan Roper, chair of the Norfolk Heath and Wellbeing Board, said: “Our aim is for Norfolk to become a champion of dementia friendly communities but we can only achieve this by working together.
“We all have a role to play in this.”