They don’t have to go it alone

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

THE Alzheimer’s So­ci­ety has just launched the first ever de­men­ti­afriendly guide for ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, as an ever-in­creas­ing pro­por­tion of the coun­try­side pop­u­la­tion suf­fers from the con­di­tion. Some 850,000 peo­ple in the UK have de­men­tia, twothirds of whom live in ru­ral areas.

Their ill­ness is ex­ac­er­bated by cuts to lo­cal ser­vices and a lack of in­fra­struc­ture, mean­ing that many of those with de­men­tia are feel­ing more and more iso­lated and un­able to live the lives they want. The De­men­tia: Ru­ral Com­mu­ni­ties Guide hopes to en­cour­age in­di­vid­u­als, com­mu­nity groups and or­gan­i­sa­tions to take ac­tion and bet­ter sup­port peo­ple af­fected in their area.

As one per­son in the guide ex­plains: ‘If I lived here alone and lost my driv­ing li­cence, I think I’d have no al­ter­na­tive but to move to a town. That would not be an easy choice to make, leav­ing my gar­den, walks and birds, all of which are in­te­gral to my well­be­ing.’

Work is al­ready un­der­way to im­prove the lives of those suf­fer­ing from de­men­tia, with more than 350 areas across the UK em­brac­ing the drive. How­ever, as Ian Sher­iff, chair of the Prime Min­is­ter’s Cham­pi­ons Group on Ru­ral De­men­tia, says: ‘There are still far too many peo­ple with de­men­tia be­ing for­got­ten. This guide is a chance to en­sure that ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and peo­ple with de­men­tia are fully sup­ported and in­te­grated into all as­pects of com­mu­nity life.’

Jeremy Hughes, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Alzheimer’s So­ci­ety, adds: ‘We need to see all of so­ci­ety, in­clud­ing the most re­mote and ru­ral areas, unit­ing and com­mit­ting to the steps out­lined in this guide, so that no one has to face de­men­tia alone.’

Visit www.alzheimers.org.uk for fur­ther in­for­ma­tion and to do­nate. JF

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