|Contact||Sue Gratton, Deputy Associate Director, Integrated Commissioning, NHS Kent and Medway|
|Address||Templar House, Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent, TN23 1PL|
This project will support the development of dementia friendly communities in Kent and Medway, enabling people living with dementia to remain independent and have choice and control over their lives.
Based on learning from our previous dementia co-production project we recognise that there will be some immediate benefits for people living with dementia, these include the increased social interaction through being involved in the project and the increased confidence this can bring, the opportunity to share experiences and ideas, and the positive benefits of being able to shape and influence how the project and overall programme of dementia friendly communities develop.
The longer term benefits for people living with dementia and their carers will include:
- An increased awareness from the community and services around them about dementia and in turn a reduction of stigma
- An improved experience when ‘out and about’ as a result of the work carried out with local businesses and services
- Better support for people within their communities and less isolation and loneliness
There will be other benefits which will be realised in the long term but through the process of co-production we are unable to say what these will be yet as we have yet to work with people on how they would like the project to develop. Each of the separate areas we work with may also have a slightly different focus and at this stage we cannot anticipate what they will be as they will be determined by local interest and differences in community make up.
Learning from elsewhere
This project will be managed by Kent County Council’s Strategic Commissioning Unit and delivered by SILK (Social Innovation Lab Kent), these projects will compliment the Kent Dementia Co-production project that SILK have been working on for the past year, (https://socialinnovation.typepad.com/silk/2011/10/dementia-care-pathway.html). This Kent county wide project has worked alongside people living with dementia and carers to co-produce:
- an in-depth understanding of the challenges people living with dementia in Kent and Medway face, and a range of solutions to improve some of these challenges.
- peer support and the trialling of a new scheme in Kent where members of existing peer support groups offer one to one support to newly diagnosed people
- a ‘dementia checklist’ that can be used by people to prepare for initial discussions with their GP
- a book which helps to explain dementia to young people.
This project will also learn from Hampshire County Council’s dementia friendly community project and the progress already started on making Plymouth dementia friendly. We have started to familiarise ourselves with these projects and during the initial research phase we plan to visit the areas to gain a better understanding of what has been achieved. We want to learn from the work that has already been achieved by engaging with local businesses in Hampshire and Plymouth and build on this for dementia friendly communities in Kent and Medway. We aim to work with a range of service providers, businesses, leisure facilities and other public spaces to help them become more dementia aware as part of the overall vision for dementia friendly communities. In order to achieve this we will work alongside business and services as well as people living with dementia to create a training or learning package which can be used by all staff.
- To work with communities, local businesses, service providers and service users to raise awareness and reduce stigma to ensure that people no longer feel isolated and unable to ask for assistance or help.
- To create equitable communities where everyone in the community is valued and able to contribute as equally as everyone else.
- To prevent people living with dementia and carers from feeling isolated, unable to ask for help, or unable to contribute to their community as they would wish.
- To provide increased opportunities for social interaction for people living with dementia and carers.
- Enable people with dementia to be at the heart of the development of dementia friendly communities. To recruit, actively support and facilitate the contribution that people with dementia can make.
- Improve the quality of life for those participating. For exapmle, improve the day to day experience of living with dementia by encouraging socially responsible services that have better links to the community.
- Raise awareness, reduce stigma and minimise isolation of those living with the effects of dementia.
- Provide positive stories and role models for the public to challenge the negative stereotypes and fears surrounding diagnosis, and enable meaningful social engagement for people with dementia.
- Reconnect communities and ensure a better use of existing public resources and assets. Encourage intergenerational use of publicly owned spaces, for example, leisure facilities, parks, museums and galleries.
- Improve saftey, reduce isolation and stigma by providing increased opportunities for taking part in community life. Encourage active citizenship and social responsibility, people within communities supporting each other with less reliance on the state.