Caring for each other is at the heart of Croydon Council’s commitment to making our borough inclusive for people living with dementia, and their carers.
We are a member of the Croydon Dementia Action Alliance (CDAA), which is more than 20 local organisations, including Croydon Health Services, Age UK Croydon, Alzheimer’s Society and local police and fire services, working together to create dementia friendly communities.
There are more than 3,600 people living with dementia in Croydon today and that number is likely to rise. The work we do includes raising awareness of the condition to as many residents, local businesses and Croydon Council employees as we can. I have personally recruited more than 350 council staff and 400 members of the Metropolitan Police to be Dementia Friends – and we have more in our sights! We have also held Dementia awareness sessions with children and young people in the borough.
The CDAA has organised tea dances, a 12-hour fundraising Knit-a-thon at Croydon University Hospital, a Memory Café, dementia-friendly cinema screenings at Croydon’s David Lean cinema and much more. Such events mean that people with the condition have the opportunity to continue to do the things they love in accessible and supportive environments.
The events and awareness session are also helping a wider range of residents to better understand dementia, whether or not they personally know someone who is living with the condition.
Becoming a Dementia Friend means turning understanding into action, for example visiting someone you know living with the condition or helping someone who may be confused or agitated.
Shops, businesses, health and transport services can also make small changes to their layout and décor to welcome people with dementia. If someone is hesitating going into a shop or building and there’s a large black mat to wipe their feet, they may think it’s a hole and they might fall in. However, just a word of reassurance can help so much in that situation.
There is no cure for dementia. We can only, with care and understanding, help people to live well with the condition. People who have taken part in a Dementia Friends awareness session have told me that they found them very informative and have gone away with a better understanding of the condition.
We need as many Dementia Friends in the borough as possible, who if they wish, can also take the next step to become a Dementia Champion. Their efforts help to get out the message that you can live well with dementia if you have love, care and understanding around you.
Visit our website if you would like any more information about becoming a Dementia Friend www.croydon.gov.uk/dementia