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Dementia friends in Norwich come together to help raise awareness

PUBLISHED: 15:42 18 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:51 18 May 2017

Dementia Friends gather at The Forum in Norwich for National Dementia Week. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Dementia Friends gather at The Forum in Norwich for National Dementia Week. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

archant 2017

More than 100 people who have trained to better understand dementia gathered on the steps outside The Forum in Norwich to show their commitment to making the city dementia-friendly.

Dementia Friends gather at The Forum in Norwich for National Dementia Week. The Forum chief executive Tim Bishop and chief executive of AgeUK Norwich & chairman of Dementia Action Alliance Norwich Susan Ringwood. Picture : ANTONY KELLYDementia Friends gather at The Forum in Norwich for National Dementia Week. The Forum chief executive Tim Bishop and chief executive of AgeUK Norwich & chairman of Dementia Action Alliance Norwich Susan Ringwood. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Since January, businesses and organisations around the county have been working hard to ensure they are dementia friendly, training their staff to better understand the illness which is set to rise in prevalence by 35pc in Norfolk over the next eight years.

There are now more than 40 members taking part in the bid – among them EDP and Evening News publisher Archant – all pledging support and specific objectives pledges.

Susan Ringwood, chief executive of Age UK Norwich, said: “It’s about us all thinking and understanding more about dementia.”

In Norfolk, some 14,000 people have dementia, but experts believe the figure will rise to 19,000 by 2025.

Phil Wright, from Riverside Leisure Centre. Photo: Geraldine ScottPhil Wright, from Riverside Leisure Centre. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Phil Wright, from Riverside Leisure Centre, said many of his frontline staff had now been trained as dementia friends.

“I think there are probably more people affected by dementia who use our facilities than we realise,” he said. “Families come in who we know have been affected, or through our exercise referral scheme. It’s amazing to see the number of people who are becoming dementia friends and that awareness is growing.”

Mark Johnston, from Home Instead Senior Care, first became involved in dementia awareness around five years ago.

He said: “I think training like this is important so people with dementia can continue to become active members of the community. We’re all behind the cause.”

Mark Johnston, from Home Instead. Photo: Geraldine ScottMark Johnston, from Home Instead. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Liz Yaxley, dementia service manager at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) added: “We want there to be as many dementia friends as possible in the hospital and in our local community, it’s about spreading that message.

“We’ve got lots of dementia champions in the hospitals - from our admin teams to clinicians and volunteers. And we look after a lot of people who are living with dementia and their families, it’s so important.”

To become a dementia friend, you can attend a face-to-face session or watch an online video, to learn about what it’s like to live with dementia. For more information, see www.dementiafriends.org.uk

Liz Yaxley, dementia care manager at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Photo: Geraldine ScottLiz Yaxley, dementia care manager at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Photo: Geraldine Scott

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