Welsh leaders pledge to help dementia charity to create dementia supportive communities

A new programme has been announced which is hoped will make a difference to people who have dementia living in Wales.

The Alzheimer’s Society is working with organisations throughout Wales with the aim of creating dementia supportive communities, to increase awareness and change the way the nation thinks about dementia.

Sue Phelps, director of Alzheimer’s Society in Wales, said: “We seek nothing less than the creation of a social movement to change quality of life for people with dementia and their families. A dementia supportive community requires a change in attitudes and behaviours towards dementia. We want people in the local community to have a better understanding of dementia, and the problems people face.”

The announcement was made by the first minister of Wales Carwyn Jones in the National Assembly for Wales, aiming to improve the lives of the 44,500 people in Wales estimated to be living with dementia, a number which is expected to rise to 56,000 by 2021.

Speaking at the event and pledging their support for the programme included the director for Alzheimer’s society in Wales, the older people’s commissioner, the minister for social services and the shadow health minister.

Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for social services said: “Building dementia supportive communities goes beyond investment in health and social care services, and improving rates of diagnosis.

“While this is essential and something the Welsh Government will continue to work to deliver, all of us – individuals, businesses, statutory services, the voluntary sector, and government at all levels – have a role to play. That is why I am so delighted to learn of the work planned by the Alzheimer’s Society to look at the practical steps we might take to develop truly dementia supportive communities.”

The Alzheimer’s Society will be working in partnership with the Welsh Government and the Older People’s Commissioner to build awareness of dementia and build dementia supportive communities.

Sarah Rochira, older people’s commissioner for Wales, said: “Creating dementia supportive communities will improve the support available for people with dementia and their families and will make a huge difference to their quality of life. This is more important than ever, with the number of people living with dementia in Wales predicted to increase significantly in the coming years.

“I look forward to working with Alzheimer’s Society and other key partners, including the Welsh Government, to deliver the real change that people with dementia and their families want, and need, to see.”