Councillors become Dementia Friends to support Dementia Friendly Inverness

It was a busy day at the Council Headquarters in Inverness on Thursday 11th June.  Prior to the Community Safety, Public Engagement and Equalities Committee 32 Councillors and council staff took time out to support Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Friendly Community initiative by becoming Dementia Friends.

Leader of the Highland Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson said: “Dementia affects many people and it could happen to any of us in the future. It is really important that we all understand more about the condition and what we can do to help in any way we can. I would appeal to everyone to become a Dementia Friend”

She added: “I am pleased to say that the Council’s Learning and Development Team have carried out Dementia Awareness training for a number of years. A training session has been arranged for Members and key staff in August as part of the Member’s Training Programme and I would encourage this training to be rolled out to as many staff as possible across the Council.” 

A Dementia Friend learns a little bit more about what it’s like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into action - anyone can become a Dementia Friend.

Scotland now has over 10,000 Dementia Friends who have signed up to support people with dementia in their communities.

Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Advisors Fiona Dendy and Geraldine Ditta delivered the training before participants were presented with their official Dementia Friends badges.

Geraldine, who is based in the Inverness Dementia Resource Centre, said: “Understanding and help from Councillors is key to us developing dementia friendly communities, supporting people to live well with dementia. We can all do our bit to help, even small gestures can make a big difference”.

To become a dementia friend or to find out more about the Dementia Friendly Community project please visit http://www.dementiafriendsscotland.org/ or contact the Dementia resource Centre in Inverness on 01463 711 707 or email highlanddrc@alzscot.org.

Cllr Thomas Prag said: “I came away from the session today with a more confident and positive feeling about my own abilities to help those living with dementia – and an understanding of what may be going on in the minds of those affected.

"So I was only too pleased to become a Dementia Friend by finding out more about what it is like to live with dementia and what proactive steps I can take to help people. I fully support the ambition of Alzheimer Scotland to make Inverness a Dementia Friendly city.”

Cllr Deirdre Mackay said: “Everyone knows somebody who is affected by dementia. As Councillors we have a key role to play to both raise awareness and also help support people with dementia, and their families, so they can continue to lead a normal life.  Alzheimer Scotland deliver the experts in the field and today's session was invaluable.”

Cllr Richard Laird said: “As our population ages, we all need to be more aware of dementia and other degenerative illnesses. I found today’s Dementia Friend induction course to be enlightening and useful. The experiences I heard and information I gathered will be useful to me in my role as a councillor and I would recommend becoming a Dementia Friend to anyone else with an interest in or contact with those with dementia.”

There are presently 90,000 people in Scotland with Dementia. This includes over 4500 people with dementia in Highland.

Alzheimer Scotland is currently working with The Highland Council, Inverness BID, NHS Highland, Inverness Chamber of Commerce, the local District Partnership and others to make Inverness a Dementia Friendly city.

During Demetria Awareness Week (1-7 June) Alzheimer Scotland took the Dementia Friendly Inverness campaign to the High Street with over 40 shops and businesses displaying posters and making commitments to support the initiative.

Campbell Mair, Head of operations, Alzheimer Scotland was at the Council session to present Councillors with their badge and certificate. He said: “There are people living with dementia in all Highland communities. We want to work with the Council and our partners to ensure that everything possible is done to make our community accessible to every single person who lives here.

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I would like to thank all the Councillors today and everyone who has supported us with our ambition to see Inverness become a Dementia Friendly city."

For further information please contact Karen Steel on 01349 808 650 or email KSteel@alzscot.org

Alternatively, you can call Alzheimer Scotland’s 24 hour, freephone Dementia Helpline on 0808 808 3000 or visit www.alzscot.org

12 Jun 2015
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