Monmouthshire County Council has been recognised for its progress towards becoming a dementia-friendly organisation.  The council was awarded the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Community (DFC) accreditation logo at its most recent meeting on Thursday, July 28th and it will work with the society to ensure all areas of the authority adopt a dementia-friendly approach.  This newly granted status was welcomed by all councillors.

To gain the award the council must satisfy seven criteria.  Among these requirements is the establishment of a Dementia Champion, and Councillor Geoff Burrows, cabinet member for social care, safeguarding and health will assume this responsibility.  Other measures include ensuring a structure is in place to carry out the council’s work in this area, developing a strong voice for people with dementia and their carers and reviewing progress on a regular basis.

Councillors and senior officers recently attended a ‘Dementia Friends’ awareness session, an Alzheimer’s Society initiative, to increase their understanding of the condition.  Meanwhile, over 700 people in the county have become dementia friends in the past twelve months and 20 have trained to oversee sessions.

The council has also supported the development of a new dementia website with local GPs and colleagues from the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and GAVO (Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisation).   The website – http://wales.dementiaroadmap.info/monmouthshire/ – has been funded by GPs across Gwent but will benefit Monmouthshire’s residents.

The council plans to deliver dementia friends awareness to its staff and to encourage other partners to become dementia-friendly.  In addition, it will work closely with the Alzheimers’s Society‘s dementia-friendly cafes – support groups run on a regular basis – to ensure the views of people living with dementia and their carers are heard.

Councillor Burrows said: “As the county’s population ages, dementia is a condition that’s likely to increasingly affect a significant proportion of residents.  One of the council’s main priorities is the protection of vulnerable people so it makes sense for us to work towards a position where we can offer help to those with dementia and their carers.  We will take steps to ensure we provide effective support.”

As well as the county council, communities like Raglan are working towards dementia-friendly status.  Abergavenny is to start the process soon and the society’s aim is that all places in Monmouthshire will be dementia-friendly.

For further information on dementia friends visit: http://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/