THE leader of Portsmouth City Council has pledged to do all she can to help make the authority dementia-friendly.
Councillor Donna Jones has given her support to The News’ Take Care Together campaign, which has pledged to raise awareness of dementia, double the number of dementia friends in the area and ensure no patient or carer feels alone.
Cllr Jones said: ‘I fully support this fantastic campaign and think it’s great The News is highlighting dementia and raising awareness of it.
‘I back the three pledges outlined, and want to ensure the council can do all it can to help fulfil these.’
One of the main aims of the campaign is to increase the number of people who take part in the Alzheimer’s Society’s dementia friends scheme, which is a short workshop that gives people a better understanding of the disease.
The word dementia describes a large group of symptoms that affect brain nerve cells, causing them to die.
And despite common belief, dementia is not a natural part of ageing and can affect anyone at any time.
There are 2,247 people living with the condition in Portsmouth, around 1,133 in Gosport, 1,819 in Fareham and 2,031 in Havant.
Charity Alzheimer’s Society said its research shows 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia.
But this is set to increase dramatically – in less than 10 years it will rise to 1m and will soar to 2m by 2051.
This is why The News launched the campaign – a bid to make the community more dementia-friendly so we can all help each other.
We want to double the number of dementia friends – at the moment there are 1,416 in Portsmouth, 405 in Gosport, 662 in Fareham, 96 in Havant and 443 in Waterlooville.
Cllr Jones added: ‘I and other councillors took part in a dementia friends course last November, and I found it very interesting.
‘I want to put forward a motion at our next full council meeting to ensure each councillor takes part in the course.
‘I will be speaking to the charity to get some sessions set up – this is incredibly important.
‘I also want to look at what else we can do on top of the three News pledges to help people in Portsmouth.’
Be a Dementia Friend
A DEMENTIA Friend learns more about what it’s like to live with the condition.
That then turns understanding into action, from helping someone find the right bus, to recognising signs, and supporting loved ones.
Anyone of any age can be a dementia friend and there are two ways of doing it – take an online
course lasting an hour, or join a face-to-face
The News wants to hear from all those who take part in a course, so we can see the difference you’re making.
There’s a number of ways in which you can do this – email firstname.lastname@example.org and give your name, age, address and contact details.
Or send a tweet to @portsmouthnews with a message and #newsdementia
To sign up, visit dementiafriends.org.uk