The City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services has become a Dementia Friend – and is encouraging all her fellow councillors to do the same.
Dementia Friends are people who have taken part in a short awareness raising session which gives them a greater understanding of the condition so that they are able to offer help and support to someone living with dementia.
People can become a Dementia Friend either by taking part in special events organised by The Alzheimer's Society, or by logging onto www.dementiafriends.org.uk and completing a five-minute session online.
Councillor Linda Leach, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, took part in a session with The Alzheimer's Society's Dementia Connect Local Services Manager Lee Allen at the council's Civic Centre recently. She said: "Over 3,000 people in Wolverhampton are thought to be living with dementia, and many of us will meet them on a daily basis, either in a professional or personal capacity.
"By becoming more aware of both the particular needs of people with dementia, and the sort of help and support we can give them, we have a real chance to make their lives a little easier.
"I enjoyed the interactive session which shared information about dementia in an accessible way. At the end, I committed to three pledges to act – to raise awareness to others by hosting a session for all my peers, to support new and existing initiatives in the city, such as Dementia Cafés, and to wear my Dementia Friends badge to raise awareness and start more conversations with people about dementia.
"Wolverhampton is working hard to ensure our city remains a friendly place for people affected by dementia, and this initiative is one small step to help. I will be asking all my fellow councillors to become a Dementia Friend and pledge to raise awareness, and would urge everyone else to become a Dementia Friend, too."
People who are worried about dementia can contact the Alzheimer's Society for information and support either via the Dementia Connect Helpline on 0333 150 3456 or by visiting www.alzheimers.org.uk. For more information about the help and support available locally, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/dementia. The Alzheimer's Society has granted Wolverhampton Dementia Friendly Community Status after recognising the work members of the Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance are doing to improve services for people living with dementia, and their families and carers.