Dartmouth Caring is spearheading a drive to create a local Dementia Action Alliance in Dartmouth and its surrounding villages.
The Alliance would be part of a national campaign that has been joined by 150 national companies and organisations. It is hoped the formation of Local DAAs will create a network within communities that can improve the lives of those living with dementia.
Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) that is associated with an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities. More than 750,000 people nationwide have been diagnosed, but there are many more who could be suffering its effect who have not been. Awareness of the condition is very low, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, which is helping to set up the Dartmouth Local Alliance.
There is also a stigma to the disease that stops many seeking help. The Local DAAs are designed to increase awareness, understanding and hopefully encourage more people with the symptoms to seek help, as early treatment is, thankfully, very effective.
In the area covered by Dartmouth Caring’s services there are nearly 100 members of the community who have dementia, but again there are thought to be many more. It will become an increasing problem in the town, as 1 in 10 people over 65 years of age develop symptom, and Dartmouth’s population will be 50 per cent over the age of 65 by 2015. This means the number of dementia cases just in Dartmouth could be more than double the official figure.
Every local Alliance signs up to the National Dementia Declaration, which sets out seven basic rights for those with dementia, which the Alliance members pledge to protect – these include the right for personal choice, understanding and support, among others.
Dartmouth Caring have brought together a number of local organisations and businesses to form a Dartmouth Dementia Awareness Alliance, including the Dartmouth Business Forum, Nat West bank, Boots, Dartmouth Academy, the Dartmouth Police and the Flavel.
But the group is hoping many more groups and businesses from Dartmouth and its surrounding villages sign up – and is calling for anyone interested in joining to call, email or drop in to the offices of Dartmouth Caring in Victoria Road.
Dartmouth Caring Chairman Dee Nutt said: “We have been really pleased with the response to our call for organisations to join the Dartmouth Dementia Action Alliance – but we would always welcome more to join.
“We hope to work to raise awareness of dementia and its symptoms in Dartmouth and also look to find ways in which the community can support and help those with the condition. This is about Dartmouth town caring for its own in the best possible way. We hope more people can get involved.”
There is a meeting to officially start the Dartmouth LDAA in the Royal Castle on Friday February 15 at 3pm. Anyone who would like to go should register with Dartmouth Caring first.
If your business or organisation would like to join the Dartmouth Local Dementia Action Alliance group, please contact Dartmouth Caring on 01803 839354, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or pop into the charity’s offices opposite Dartmouth Medical Practice in Victoria Road.