The Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry, has reinforced the Authority’s continuing commitment to working closely with a range of organisations to support people living with dementia, their families and carers.
Following a recent meeting with Amber Reed, Operations Manager for the Alzheimer’s Society in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands, Councillor Perry, said: “At a time when more than 20,000 people are estimated to be living with dementia in Hampshire and the Islands, and the possibility that this number may double by 2030, our ambition as a County Council is to support the growing number of people with the condition to live a good life. Drawing on the expertise of organisations such as the Alzheimer’s Society, we are working hard to ensure that we are developing services which take into account the needs of local people, and that we champion the valued contribution that people living with dementia can continue to make to their local communities.”
The County Council is supporting people with dementia, their families and carers in a variety of ways, including through the roll out of assistive technology (see note) to enable people with the condition to continue to live independently in their own homes for longer. Over 500 Hampshire residents are now benefitting from this type of support provided by Argenti, the County Council’s telecare partner, with the numbers requesting this support, increasing every month. A specific Dementia Pathway project is also underway, designed to encourage those with an early diagnosis of dementia to trial the telecare service. The County Council is planning some exciting developments within its country parks, working with a variety of organisations such as local dementia actions groups, on key issues such as access, signage and improving the ‘dementia friendly’ experience for visitors. Country park staff have already undergone dementia awareness training to help people with dementia to access the County Council’s parks, so they can reap the physical, emotional and social benefits of being outdoors and sharing activities with others.
Between 2013 and 2015, the County Council spearheaded the Dementia Friendly Hampshire programme, the aim of which was to create dementia friendly communities across the county. This included the creation of a number of dementia friendly high streets where local businesses signed up to training to help support people with dementia, and the creation of the Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance to encourage local businesses and organisations to pledge to make a positive difference to the quality of life for people with dementia and importantly, their carers. With more than 450 members, the Hampshire Alliance is one of the largest in the country.
Funding for the initiative was predicated on the programme becoming self sustaining, with local communities supporting the initiative and taking responsibility for rolling it out locally.