From the editor: Scale of disease shows how vital it is people do their bit

Norwich could become a dementia-friendly city within the next few years. Photo: Bill Smith

Norwich could become a dementia-friendly city within the next few years. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant

The figures say it all...

14,000 people in Norfolk are living with it.

19,000 people in Norfolk will live with it by 2025.

Thousands more are caring for those who have it.

The 'it' in question is dementia, a heartbreaking disease which touches the lives of so many people.

If it hasn't affected you directly, it's more than likely you know someone whom it has.

That is why I was pleased to announce on the front pages of this paper last week that we are backing a campaign to make Norwich a 'dementia-friendly' city.

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But what does that actually mean?

Ultimately, organisers Age UK Norwich wants to make the city a place where people with the debilitating condition feel safe and welcome.

For our part we will pledge to spread knowledge and understanding of dementia through our newspaper and website and make sure the language we use is appropriate.

As importantly, Archant, the publishers of the Evening News, will train 50 members of staff as Dementia Friends to ensure they can spread understanding of the condition.

This means that should, for instance, a dementia friend be out walking and they come across someone who is lost or disorientated and possibly suffers from dementia, they know how to act around them.

Attempting to recruit scores of 'dementia friends' is an approach that I think could have a massive impact on understanding of the disease.

If a success, I also believe it is something that could be replicated with mental health.

I'm sure many of us would admit to being equally unaware of how to best behave when someone is having a mental health episode.

But for it to be a success, other businesses, community groups and individuals need to do their bit and sign up to the pledges.

Please have a think about whether you could help.

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