CALNE has become the first community in Wiltshire to form a Dementia Action Alliance.
The aim of the DAA is to help create a community where people with dementia feel confident, understood and supported to live well.
Organisations including Calne Town Council, Wiltshire Council’s Calne Area Board, and Alzheimer’s Society as well as other local businesses and organisations have joined forces alongside people with dementia and their families to form the Calne Dementia Action Alliance.
Members of the DAA pledge to take a number of actions to improve their services for people with dementia. These actions could be anything from delivering Dementia Friends information sessions to encouraging supermarkets to have ‘no hurry’ lanes.
Dementia Friends was launched in February 2013 by Alzheimer’s Society. It is a trailblazing initiative that aims to help people understand what it might be like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action. Wiltshire Council has teamed up with Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Support to give all 5,000 staff, no matter what their role, the chance to become a Dementia Friend.
Diane Gooch, spokesperson for Calne DAA said: “I became a Dementia Friends Champion and following that I was determined to do more in my local community to raise awareness of dementia.
“I wanted others to understand how we could all work together to support people affected by it. Gradually more and more people have come on board and after a meeting with Calne Area Board we set up a steering group; from that Calne DAA was established. People affected by dementia are involved in the steering group and DAA.
“Listening to their views is incredibly important. We’re really keen to work with more local businesses, especially supermarkets, and get them involved too. We want to spread this as far as we can and show that even small things can make a big difference for people living with dementia.”
The launch of Calne DAA comes after an Alzheimer’s Society report found that less than half of people living with dementia feel a part of the community (47%) and nearly three quarters (73%) of UK adults surveyed do not think society is geared up to deal with dementia.
Maggie Rae, Wiltshire Council corporate director, said: “We are fully committed to raising awareness of dementia so that those who are affected by it can still live happy fulfilling lives supported by their local communities.
“Calne is leading the way and this alliance will help strengthen that support and hopefully inspire other communities too.”
Chris Atkinson, Alzheimer’s Society’s operations manager for Wiltshire, said: “It’s vital that people living with dementia should still be able to enjoy all Calne has to offer.
“Many people with dementia have reported feeling trapped in their own homes and let down by their communities, with one in three only getting out once a week and one in 10 only managing this once a month. This is simply unacceptable.
“The Calne Dementia Action Alliance aims to address the isolation that many people living with dementia can feel and we are delighted to see so many organisations from Calne committing to helping people in the community live well with dementia.
“Alzheimer’s Society wants to create Dementia-Friendly Communities and the DAA is the best vehicle for doing this.”