They don’t have to go it alone
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