This Dementia Awareness Week (15 to 21 May), Bolton at Home has launched plans to help more people affected by the illness.
It is estimated that there are close to 3,000 people aged over 65 in Bolton living with dementia.
Staff at the housing charity recognise the impact dementia can have on peoples’ memory, language, behaviours and personal safety. Their new dementia strategy sets-out a variety of ways they’ll work to help prevent it, identify the condition for early treatment, and provide safe and considerate living spaces for people.
A programme of well-being activities, such as chair based exercise classes and reminiscence projects memory projects across sheltered sites and community centres, will help to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce risk of narrowed arteries, which are linked to Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
Despite Bolton’s diagnosis rate for dementia being higher than the national average, there are thought to be nearly 1,400 people currently undiagnosed and not receiving treatment locally. So, staff are being trained in how to recognise possible symptoms and knowing where to refer people to specialist agencies. The organisation will also work with partners in health and social care to explore the use of technology to help with early identification, and publish information to raise public awareness of dementia.
With earlier identification, Bolton at Home’s Careline and Support and Sustainment Services can more effectively help customers live well with dementia by support planning with individuals, families, carers, and by teaming-up with other support groups. These groups include the Alzheimer’s Society and the Bolton Dementia Action Alliance, which Bolton at Home has pledged its support to.
The housing provider will design new developments for older person’s accommodation to be ‘dementia friendly’ and consider adaptations for tenants’ homes and sheltered and extra care schemes to help people maintain their independence and offer more choice with their care options. These measures include the use of assistive technology such as medication reminders, fall pendants and door exit sensors.
The organisation is also committed for all of its 1,000 staff to become ‘Dementia Friends’, part of the Alzheimer’s Society’s work to create dementia friendly communities and neighbourhoods that can be easily navigated. Staff are volunteering to be champions and deliver dementia awareness sessions to colleagues and customers.
Julie Riley, Customer Support Manager for Bolton at Home, said: “Dementia poses one of the greatest challenges to society and it’s a growing concern as more people become affected. It has a considerable impact on peoples’ lives, whether you have the illness or you care for someone who does. We’ve formalised our commitment to ensure we support our customers and staff in ways that suit individual needs, and to join-up with partners locally and regionally to help more people live well with dementia for as long as possible.”
Deputy Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Linda Thomas, added: “We’re really pleased that Bolton at Home has pledged its support to the Bolton Dementia Action Alliance. We asked local organisations and residents to come forward and join in our commitment to improving life for those with dementia as part of Dementia Awareness Week – I’m delighted that Bolton at Home has done just that along with launching a new strategy. It is crucial that we all work together as improving the lives of people living with dementia is a priority for us.”