The boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster have been recognised by the Alzheimer’s Society as Dementia Friendly Communities.
The charity awards the title to communities that demonstrate their commitment, support and respect for those with dementia across eight areas:
- Arts, culture and leisure
- Children and young people
- Health and social care
- Police, Fire and Ambulance services
- Community and voluntary groups
Both boroughs are among the very few to have demonstrated their commitment in every category. They were able to demonstrate a host of initiatives helping people with dementia. This includes monthly, discounted, dementia friendly screenings at The Gate Cinema, Notting Hill. Before the film there is the opportunity to take part in ‘Singing for the Brain’ which bring people with dementia together in a friendly and stimulating way through singing. Over at Lords Cricket Ground, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) hosts reminiscence sessions in the clubroom with different themes each month.
The two boroughs are host to exciting dementia specific activities including events at arts institutions like the National Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Wallace Collection as well as events with local businesses aimed at keeping people with dementia safe from scams within their community.
There have also been technology projects such as ‘Motitech’ which is in a number of care homes across both boroughs. It encourages cycling around the world without ever leaving the comfort of your lounge.
More than 75 per cent of staff working for Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster councils have had dementia friends training, with all due to be trained by April 2020.
Cllr Sarah Addenbrooke, Kensington and Chelsea’s Lead Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health said:
“Even the word dementia can strike fear into people, but being named a Dementia Friendly Community shows there is a tremendous amount of support to help you continue to lead a fulfilling life for many years after a diagnosis.
“It’s important to speak to someone if you are concerned about yourself, a friend or family member. We all need to be aware of what dementia means and what we can do to help and support those affected.”
Cllr Tim Mitchell, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health for Westminster City Council said:
“This is the first step to reducing the stigma surrounding a dementia diagnosis. The more people who talk about it, become aware of the signs and offer to help those who seem in distress, the more we can help people with dementia continue to live the life they want to.
“Hopefully this pledge will encourage our residents to follow our lead and take one small action to support people living with dementia and enable us to really become a dementia friendly community.”
Ester Watts of the Alzheimer’s Society added:
“I applaud and admire the Bi-borough’s gumption in pursuing the commitment to becoming dementia-friendly, starting with the roll-out of Dementia Friends for staff. Ensuring that people know a bit about dementia and encouraging them to think about how their work affects people with dementia and carers… can make a big difference.
“From going to the leisure centre, to the shops, to the library or being in a care home or receiving care at home, making sure that people are getting the right support is so important to keep them engaged and living well. Well done Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea for joining the ‘Working to Become Dementia Friendly’ recognition scheme. We look forward to hearing many more positive examples of the work of the Council and the many other members of the group in the coming years”
Residents can also become dementia friends, either online or by signing up to a session. Leighton House Museum is hosting hour long sessions in May.