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This project aims to move Bristol towards becoming a ‘dementia-friendly city’ in which people with dementia can enjoy the same opportunities to take part in a social life, live independently and engage in everyday activity as other people, without fear of stigma or rejection.
This project overtly shifts dementia from being considered the responsibility of ‘health’ and ‘social care’ services and professionals, to one that touches upon all areas of life and communities in line with the Prime Minister’s dementia challenge (2012). This move draws upon many years of thinking and work undertaken in the areas of physical and sensory impairment, learning disability and mental health, which have recognised that, if groups are merely seen as the responsibility of specialist agencies, there is little or no hope of more general acceptance or inclusion, rather, they remain ‘special’, separate and unengaged.
The project is based around and led by a Development Worker post which will oversee a range of different connected strands which, in combination, address some key aspects of what should underpin dementia-friendly communities.
1. Strong connections with Bristol’s Neighbourhood Partnerships
Neighbourhood partnerships are, in a city the size of Bristol, a means to reach out into smaller clusters of communities and neighbourhoods. They provide a structure, through which some of the work of this project will operate. There are good examples of joint work between adult social care and Neighbourhood Partnerships in relation to both mental health social inclusion work and “Think Local Act Personal”.
2. The establishment of a Dementia Action Alliance (DDA) in Bristol
This will involve stimulating the creation of a small number of neighbourhood-level and amenity-specific ‘alliances’, drawing upon models from Plymouth, Bradford and York. Whilst the model allows for independence and autonomy of each Alliance, it is anticipated that they will provide a supportive set of developing active networks to work towards change for people with dementia. The DAA in Bradford has focused around the South Asian communities, whilst Alliances in Devon have variously focused upon local amenities for example libraries and shopping centre’s.
3. Inter-generational partnerships
The formation of two sustainable inter-generational partnerships between a pair of schools and local care homes that lie within their catchment area. This work has a proven track record including the Hostelling inter-generational project and the ‘Sharing Stories’ intergenerational project in Leicestershire. It will promote understanding and acceptance across age groups, bringing the experience of older people and the reality of aging and increasing frailty to the understanding of young people.
4. Promotion of Community Support for people with dementia
Work with existing (and new) social care providers to promote the use of Community Support (paid through personal budgets or Direct Payments) to facilitate the involvement of people with dementia in community activities/facilities. For this, we will draw upon the learning in mental health and learning difficulties services – examples include the Imagine Mental Health ‘Mainstream’ service in Liverpool and the Rethink support service in Bristol.
5. Local innovative projects
These will be locally based pieces of work that support people with dementia to take part in mainstream services/facilities/activities and address the issues of attitude, accessibility, engagement and support. The emphasis in their development will be that these projects are sustainable and continue after the life of the project. These will pay particular attention to diversity (for example in relation to language and culture), at least one of these projects will be with a Black Minority and Ethnic (BME) organisation. Bristol has a very diverse population, and many of our BME communities are not reached by traditional dementia services. The work undertaken in Bradford (for example) provides a body of practice to draw upon in culturally-sensitive work.
6. Development of information resources
This project will look to draw upon and create where necessary, information materials that promote better public understanding and awareness of dementia and the promotion of inclusion. Note that the improvement of information provision for people with dementia and their families is the subject of another piece of work taking place in Bristol (which is not a part of this dementia challenge). For this work, we draw upon the Dementia Action Alliance work in the South West, as well as the anti-stigma campaigns in mental health (‘SHIFT’ and ‘Time to Change’) which focus upon improving community understanding and awareness.
People with dementia and their families:
- Feel more a part of their own neighbourhood
- Feel more able to do the normal day-to-day things that they want to
- Feel accepted and valued in their local shops, libraries etc
- Take part in different activities in their communities
- Know people who they can ask for help if they need it
Community facilities are:
- More aware of dementia and how to be welcoming to people with dementia
- Have started to do things to help people with dementia get involved
- Look out for their neighbours with dementia
- Are welcoming and supportive of people with dementia