Increasing awareness and understanding of dementia in Horsham is the mission statement for the district council’s newly appointed dementia friendly coordinator.
In her role, Sharon Cadman will be supporting the Horsham District Dementia Action Alliance in attempting to convert the area into a dementia friendly community.
Sharon said: “In the last 12 to 18 months, people have picked up on it.
“There is a fear around it, it’s a really, really cruel disease.
“There shouldn’t be a stigma around it because it’s not just ‘you’re getting old’ like it used to be looked at.”
Nearly 2000 people living in the Horsham district have been diagnosed as living with dementia.
However, research from the Alzheimer’s Society suggests only 48 per cent of people with dementia have an official diagnosis, so the figure is likely to be around 4000.
Sharon, who is acting as a coordinator and is not a trained nurse or specialist, will be organising activities for older people, including walking football. She will also be looking at the accessibility of local venues.
She said: “It is about making places more accessible, like improving signage.
“If you go to a pub or a restaurant and you want to go to the toilet, there are signs on the way but not on the way back.
“Being aware of some of the issues people with dementia have can only make things more friendly and more accessible.”
In March 2012, David Cameron launched the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia. Part of this was creating dementia friendly communities.
Sharon added: “We are going into local schools and hopefully taking in people with dementia to talk about what it’s like to live with dementia, to raise awareness.
“It is a huge district and it is going to be very difficult.”
Anyone interested in more information or joining the alliance can contact Sharon on firstname.lastname@example.org
She would also like to hear from anyone trained as a dementia friends champion who would like to get involved with the alliance.
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