This report, published by the Alzheiner’s Society, explores evidence from people with dementia about their experiences of living in their community and the ten key things they would like to see in a dementia-friendly community.
The report explores the barriers that people face in their community, how they would like to be engaged in their local area and the support they need to empower them to do so. Overall, the report aims to provide guidance to areas that are looking to become dementia-friendly and to provide extra evidence for those already committed to becoming dementia-friendly.
The report recommends that communities working to become dementia friendly should focus on the following 10 key areas:
- Involvement of people with dementia
Shape communities around the needs and aspirations of people living with dementia alongside the views of their carers. Each community will have its own diverse populations and focus must include understanding demographic variation, the needs of people with dementia from seldom heard communities, and the impact of the geography, eg rural versus urban locations.
- Challenge stigma and build understanding
Work to break down the stigma of dementia, including in seldom heard communities, and increase awareness and understanding of dementia.
- Accessible community activities
Offer organised activities that are specific and appropriate to the needs of people with dementia. Also ensure that existing leisure services and entertainment activities are more inclusive of people with dementia.
- Acknowledge potential
Ensure that people with dementia themselves acknowledge the positive contribution they can make to their communities. Build on the goodwill in the general public to make communities dementia friendly.
- Ensure an early diagnosis
Ensure access to early diagnosis and post-diagnostic support. Have health and social care services that are integrated and delivering person-centred care for people with dementia in all settings.
- Practical support to enable engagement in community life
Deliver a befriending service that includes practical support to ensure people with dementia can engage in community life as well as offering emotional support.
- Community-based solutions
Support people with dementia in whatever care setting they live, from maintaining independence in their own home to inclusive, high-quality care homes. Community- based solutions to housing can prevent people from unnecessarily accessing healthcare and support people to live longer in their own homes.
- Consistent and reliable travel options
Ensure that people with dementia can be confident that transport will be consistent, reliable and responsive and respectful to their needs.
- Easy-to-navigate environments
Ensure that the physical environment is accessible and easy to navigate for people with dementia.
- Respectful and responsive businesses and services
Promote awareness of dementia in all shops, businesses and services so all staff demonstrate understanding and know how to recognise symptoms. Encourage organisations to establish strategies that help people with dementia utilise their business.
This is illustrated in the diagram below.