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Businesses asked to help make Norwich a dementia-friendly city

PUBLISHED: 12:58 14 January 2017 | UPDATED: 13:18 14 January 2017

Picture Archant Library.

Picture Archant Library.

Archant

Businesses and organisations are being encouraged to join an ambitious bid to make Norwich a dementia-friendly city.

The scheme, described as a “social movement”, comes as experts predict the number of people with dementia in Norfolk is set for a 35pc increase in the next eight years, from 14,000 to 19,000.

And today Archant, publisher of the Eastern Daily Press, revealed that it is to train 50 members of staff as “Dementia Friends” so that they can spread understanding of the condition.

The company has also pledged to use its newspapers and websites to spread knowledge about dementia.

Susan Ringwood, chief executive of Age UK Norwich, said every organisation in the city can play their part in helping the city achieve dementia-friendly status.

“There isn’t a family in the city that hasn’t been touched by dementia.

“It’s about businesses and their staff doing things to make the city a welcoming place for people with dementia.”

The campaign launches officially on January 25, and several organisations have already joined the new Norwich City Dementia Action Alliance, which is leading the scheme.

These include Norfolk Police, Jarrold, Aviva, Norwich Cathedral, and Archant, which has become the group’s official media partner.

David Powles, editor of Archant titles the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News, said: “With the numbers of people living with dementia on the increase it’s increasingly important people are clued up as to what it is, and to understand the role they can play in helping to spread awareness and understanding.”

And some organisations have already started to support the development of dementia-related activities.

A spokesman for Aviva said: “Aviva is keen to support Norwich in becoming a dementia friendly place to live and has worked closely with local organisations to achieve this.

“Last year our Community Norwich group, which supports local events and initiatives, donated �£5,000 to the Alzheimer’s Society to help with the amazing work they do in the local community.

“The group also promoted key events such as Dementia Awareness Week and The Memory Walk to our people.” The Norwich City Dementia Action Alliance hopes as many organisations as possible will join in the scheme, with the launch event likely to feature several of the pledges made by some participants. For more information on the scheme email Marie.lucas@ageuknorwich.org.uk

A little from all of us can help people living with dementia

Analysis by Nicholas Carding

There are plenty of facts and figures available about dementia, but perhaps the most shocking (and newest) is that it is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales.

That shows the importance of our society taking time to learn about dementia and find out how we can help people affected.

For those who have seen the affect of such brain conditions on loved ones, little motivation to help is required.

There are few things worse than not being recognised by your own mother or father, for example - or a confused loved one wandering off alone.

But there are things we can do to help.

As you see in the factbox above - more than 60,000 deaths every year are attributable to dementia. But it might surprise you to learn that delaying the onset of dementia by five years could reduce these deaths by up to 30,000 per year.

That means we can play our part - for example by spotting the symptoms of dementia and helping those affected get diagnosed and treated as early as possible. It might not be much for each of us to do, but it can make a big difference to the person living with the condition.

Archant’s pledges

As official media partners of the campaign, Archant has committed to several pledges that will help make Norwich dementia-friendly.

Our three pledges are:

• Train 50 members of staff as ‘Dementia Friends’ within 12 months to ensure they can spread understanding of the condition.

• Spread knowledge and understanding about dementia through its newspapers and websites, helping to reduce fear and raise awareness that it is possible to live well with dementia.

• Review the language used in our newspapers and on our websites in the light of the Deep Guide, which offers guidance on language-use when referring to dementia.

As part of the scheme Age UK Norwich will hold four dementia awareness sessions throughout the year, starting in March at Prospect House.

The sessions will last for 90 minutes and take place during lunch hours. Archant has agreed to allow an extra 30 minutes for lunch for those volunteering their time to become a dementia friend. It is hoped these measures will help make both staff and readers of Archant’s titles more aware of dementia.

Dementia: The facts

Dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language.

• There are more than 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK.

• There are 25,000 people with dementia from black and minority ethnic groups.

• There are 670,000 carers of people with dementia.

• By 2025 there will be one million people with dementia in the UK.

• Two thirds of people with dementia are women.

• One in six people aged 80 or more have dementia.

• 60,000 deaths per year are directly attributable to dementia.

Is your company or organisation planning to become dementia-friendly? Email nicholas.carding@archant.co.uk

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