Alzheimer’s Society campaigners were in Westminster this week to drum up political support for their Dementia Friends initiative that launched in February this year. And Stockton North Labour MP, Alex Cunningham, pledged to take action to support the 800,000 people living with dementia across the UK.
Joining 200 other MPs and representatives from Alzheimer’s Society, Alex provided a handwritten pledge to improve his own understanding of dementia and to raise awareness of dementia in Stockton North and across the wider Stockton Borough, and committed to support people with dementia and their carers.
Dementia Friends aims to help people understand what it might be like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action. Alzheimer’s Society is aiming to have one million Dementia Friends by 2015, to help make England more dementia-friendly and improve the lives of the 650,000 people currently living with the condition.
“With one-in-three people over 65 developing dementia, this is a health issue that we can’t afford to ignore. Many of us will know somebody affected by the condition, either a sufferer themselves or someone providing care. However, many of us, myself included, know too little about dementia, so I was pleased to commit to furthering my own understanding and that of others across the Stockton Borough.
“I am pleased to be able to say that the Stockton Borough Council is making excellent progress in delivering their local strategy, and I understand that they will qualify to be accredited with the Alzheimer’s Society kite mark. A number of improvements have been made to care pathways as a result of the North of Tees Dementia Collaborative, which is a joint programme between health and social care organisations in Stockton and Hartlepool. For example, an exciting development is in progress, focussed on a whole-Borough resource based around the Halcyon Centre, as well as a memory clinic with the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust and an easy access dementia hub for potential clients and carers, so the Stockton Borough is well on the way to becoming truly dementia friendly.”
During the afternoon, MPs from across England took part in a Dementia Friends session. Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society said:
“Most people don’t know enough about dementia. Dementia Friends is the perfect opportunity to be able to invite everyone to improve their knowledge. We are pleased to have been able to engage over 130 MPs in one day. They have a huge influence in their local communities and we hope they will use this opportunity to take action and improve lives.”