COUNCILLORS have voted unanimously for Droitwich to become a Dementia Friendly Town.
Droitwich Town Council members last night heard two presentations about the scheme from Dr Anthony Kelly who represented the area’s medical practices and Peter Pinfield from the Patient Participation Groups.
Dr Kelly gave some shocking statistics about the number of people affected by the condition.
Nationally he said there were 850,000 people with dementia which, with current diagnosis rates, would become 1million by 2025.
In Droitwich 270 people are currently diagnosed with dementia and that is predicted to rise by 90 more each year.
Overall one in six people over the age of 80 have dementia and it commonly leads to death within three to four years.
Dr Kelly also said despite Worcestershire being one of the best counties in the UK for primary care, its ability to diagnose with dementia was one of the worst in the country.
Droitwich being a Dementia Friendly Town would help with that figure, he said.
Early diagnosis would also have a positive effect on those with the condition because support could be put in place for them and their families.
He also talked about the importance of looking after the carers as if they were unable to cope it had a detrimental effect on the patient.
Mr Pinfield said becoming a Dementia Friendly Town would not need any financial help from the town council but in order to ‘start the ball rolling’ civic backing was needed.
“Towns, cities and communities which are already dementia friendly have seen some really dramatic positive results.”
The Alzheimer’s Society was behind the project and would provide all the education and training.
Businesses, community groups and other organisations could have some of their staff trained so they could learn how to approach and interact successfully with people with dementia.
Those signing up would display a sign to say they were ‘dementia friendly’ and information from people could also be relayed back to healthcare professionals to improve care and increase diagnoses.
Coun Bob Brookes said he had consulted with his son and daughter who were both GPs and felt this was a great thing for the town to do.
Coun Sandy Laird also gave his backing.
Back in 2017 there were angry scenes in the council chamber’s public gallery – where members of the Droitwich Spa Forum for Older People and the Alzheimer’s Society were sat – because a motion for Droitwich to become a Dementia Friendly Town was voted down.
But this time when Coun Alan Humphries moved his motion for the town to become dementia friendly, every single member of the authority voted in favour.
Coun Humphries is involved in the Dementia Meeting Centre which, when it was introduced as a pilot scheme, was ground-breaking, making Droitwich the first place in the UK to trial the Dutch model.
Since then it has gone from strength-to-strength and it recently secured funding to safeguard its future for the next four years.
Anyone interested in becoming part of the Dementia Friendly Droitwich movement can give their details to their local medical practice.
Dr Kelly and Mr Pinfield said four or five people had already expressed an interest in being part of the scheme and they hoped for many more.