New support scheme launched to help region's dementia sufferers
Devon County Council have joined forces with the charity Alzheimer's Society to implement a new support scheme aimed at helping dementia sufferers and their relatives in the difficult time after the diagnosis is given.
The scheme, which is set to be launched in January 2013, will allocate trained Dementia Support Workers to people diagnosed with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia,. The support worker will help them and their families find their way through the wide range of support available.
"It's difficult enough knowing how best to cope when you've been given a diagnosis like this," Cllr Stuart Barker, who has Cabinet responsibility for the new service, said.
"For people who have had no previous reason to know what support is available to them and their carer, it can be daunting."
Alzheimer's Society will run the new scheme for the Council. It will include a hotline from which all calls will go to trained Dementia Advisers. The plan is to base the advisers in communities across Devon. They will be supported by volunteers who will also be working closely with individuals and their carers.
Two to 13.000
It is yet unclear how many dementia support workers the new scheme will include. Until now, Alzheimer's Society had just two part-time Dementia Support Workers covering the whole of Devon.
One of them is Trevor Twinley who said he was certain the scheme would be a massive help for the estimated 13.000 people in Devon suffering from dementia.
"I'm thrilled that thanks to the Council's investment, Alzheimer's Society will be able to reach out to more people living with dementia in Devon," he said.
"People with dementia and their families can often feel isolated. Having a named contact, providing one to one support, empowers people to take control and make decisions about how they want to live their lives to full."
June Turnbull from Tedburn St. Mary, near Exeter, cares for her husband Ken, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's six months ago. She said the advice she received from a dementia support worker helped her a lot.
'When Ken was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's it was a really confusing and worrying time."
"It's been helpful to talk to people who understand and find out about what support is available to us."
Dr Nick Cartmell, GP lead for Dementia at NHS Devon and NHS South of England (West), said the new scheme would have a big impact on the quality of service in the county.
"This new service, designed to support people with dementia and their carers to live well with dementia, will make a huge difference to the quality of dementia care in Devon and empower such people to manage their personal situations more effectively," he said.