Dementia-friendly Norwich ....bring it on!

Norwich could become a dementia-friendly city within the next few years. Byline: Annette Hudson.

Norwich could become a dementia-friendly city within the next few years. Byline: Annette Hudson. - Credit: Thinkstock

It's good news that plans are going ahead to make Norwich a 'Dementia-friendly City' and the additional announcement in December highlighting how Archant, publisher of the Evening News, is getting on board to promote this initiative through its media network will, I am sure, help make it happen by the March 2018 deadline.

This is a subject close to my and my colleagues' hearts as we are all passionate about promoting the benefits of social inclusion in mental health and have seen first- hand how positive social environments improve the quality of life for people living with dementia.

There are already some places in Norwich that are ahead of the game and have adapted to become more dementia-friendly, accessible and considerate to people with dementia, and these include the dementia-friendly film screenings going on at Cinema City Cinema. And staff at John Lewis and other stores are undergoing training to become dementia friends and improve their environment to make it more accessible.

However, in my view, it's equally vital that there is adequate publicity to promote and increase awareness of these dementia-friendly places – to enable as many people as possible to know what places have become dementia-friendly in Norwich and in what way they have adapted to become more welcoming to people.

So with the recent pledge made by Archant to help promote dementia-friendly Norwich, readers will know more through regular updates and articles.

Through the coverage promoting and publicising the ways our city is changing, it will hopefully encourage and enable people with dementia to integrate as fully as possible into city life, which after all is the aim of dementia-friendly Norwich. By publicising the latest developments of Norwich's dementia-friendly shops, supermarkets, cafes, pubs, restaurants, transport, businesses and entertainment venues, it will help spur on more and more to get involved as they will all come to realise that it is actually possible and rewarding too.

After all, dementia should be everyone's business. We can't keep sticking our heads in the sand any longer and pretend dementia is going to go away on its own, because it won't, as there is still no cure.

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Raising the profile of dementia in Norwich can only be a good thing as it will help everyone to focus on what it is like.

Most people will end up being touched by this condition at some stage because as the numbers grow we will all know someone close to us who is living with dementia – and besides it could easily be us one day.

The move towards a dementia-friendly society is based on the principles of social inclusion, which is a well-documented, evidenced- based vital component in everyone's mental wellbeing, and people who have dementia are no different.

Sadly, the reality is that people with dementia have become some of the most socially isolated people in our society due to the nature of the condition.

It's time to change people's perception of dementia from a condition only the medical profession can try to treat to a condition that society can treat by including and enabling those with dementia, and their families, to carry on with their lives for as long as possible

So bring it on.... 'dementia-friendly Norwich'.