A number of local businesses and services have made a commitment to support people living with dementia and their families in the town.
The Swindon Dementia Action Alliance (SDAA) is being launched to coincide with Dementia Awareness Week (18-25 May 2014).
The vision for the local alliance is to make Swindon a “Dementia Friendly” Town. People with dementia want a community that supports them to:
• Find their way around and feel safe, but not embarrassed.
• Carry on doing the same things they have always done – like going to the shops, getting on a bus, using a library or theatre, playing sport, or just sitting in the park.
• Keep in touch and feel they still belong to the community.
Chris Atkinson, Service Manager for the Alzheimer’s Society said: “There are over 2000 people living in Swindon with some form of dementia (which is set to rise), but with the right support people can live well with the condition for a number of years.”
The aim of the group is to make the vision a reality, putting the words into action. To this end, a steering group has been formed to channel and coordinate activities. The membership of this group is not fixed and new members, with specific expertise, will be invited to join the group as the Alliance evolves.
Current members of the group include Swindon Borough Council, Swindon Libraries & Information Service, Community Police, Swindon Theatres (Wyvern Theatre & Arts Centre), Zurich Community Trust, Home Instead Senior Care and Alzheimer’s Society. The groups are aiming to work together to support people living with Dementia to live fulfilling lives within the Community.
Starting this week and continuing over the year, SDAA plan to make over 1000 people in Swindon more “Dementia Aware”; working together with Dementia Friends, it is hoped to educate people from various groups, businesses and schools about the condition.
Ultimately, we hope this will improve access to Local Authority Services, the Arts and leisure facilities, improve education within our schools and the Public in general, and engage with local business to become more “dementia friendly’.
John Kirk, Chair of the SDAA steering group said: “We’d like to encourage as many organisations and individuals as possible to join the Alliance. However, we don’t want membership to be administratively onerous or bureaucratic. We understand that a small, positive change by a larger number of people is preferable to a big change by a few.”