DEMENTIA suffers in Warwickshire have thousands of new friends.
A drive launched at the start of the year to encourage 10,000 people to become Dementia Friends has been reached its target in just ten months.
Latest figures from the Alzheimer’s Society have confirmed there are more than 10,300 Dementia Friends in the county.
It means there are now more Dementia Friends than people with dementia in Warwickshire.
Dementia Friends learns about what it is like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into action – from spreading understanding of the disease to visiting someone living with dementia.
County health spokesman Coun Les Caborn said: “I’m delighted that in well under a year we could achieve this ambitious target of supporting 10,000 people to become Dementia Friends.
“In Warwickshire, there are estimated to be over 7,500 people living with dementia and this is likely to rise to over 9,000 people with dementia in the county by 2021.
“The fact is that most people in Warwickshire will be affected in some way by dementia during their lifetimes.”
Dr John Linnane, Warwickshire director of public health became a Dementia Friend himself a year ago.
He said: “A great deal of hard work has gone into reaching this target in Warwickshire and I look forward to this momentum around dementia awareness to continue to build.
“Now that we have achieved our initial target, we will continue to create more Dementia Friends across Warwickshire. Our local Dementia Friends will also contribute to the national target – to create four million Dementia Friends in England by 2020.
“Our Dementia Friends drive is part of wider work around increasing awareness and understanding of dementia as part of Warwickshire’s Living Well with Dementia strategy. This also includes broader work, such as creating dementia friendly communities, and providing dementia awareness training to front line staff in Warwickshire.”
Coun Maggie O’Rourke, the county council’s Chair of the Adults, Health and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny committee, encouraged people to sign up.
She added: “Dementia Friends is an initiative led by the Alzheimer’s Society based on the principle that people with dementia can live well with a little help from other people.
“Becoming a Dementia Friend is about understanding a bit more about dementia and the small things that can help people with the condition. You don’t need to already know someone with dementia to become a Dementia Friend.”
Visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk for further details.