Bid to make Lewes ‘dementia friendly’

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The Mayor, several Lewes Town Councillors, a minister, a pub landlord and representatives from a local school, hospital and businesses are among those gearing up to help Lewes becoming dementia friendly.

Mayor of Lewes Councillor Susan Murray hosted a Dementia Friendly Reception on Monday, April 29 inviting local organisations and individuals with an interest in dementia to gather to discuss the making of Dementia Friendly Lewes.

Cllr Murray introduced the event by stating that she is a Dementia Friend, meaning she has taken part in an information session to learn more about what dementia is, what it is like to live with the condition and how they can take one small action to help support people to continue to take part in society for as long as possible.

She said: “I would urge everyone to do the 45-minute information session to raise awareness of dementia.

“The town council is going to lead by example and we will be hosting a session for staff very soon.”

Town Councillor Esther Watts (Green, Castle Ward) raised the question of the low dementia diagnosis rate in the local area, the need to raise awareness locally and her ambition for the town to welcome people with dementia as business as usual so they can access more activities and services.

Cllr Watts, who works for Alzheimer’s Society, said: “I work in London most of the week helping people to make dementia friendly communities. I feel the least I can do as a councillor is to bring this expertise to my home town. In our report, many people with dementia 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 manage this once a month. We want to make life better for people with dementia in Lewes. We are starting a journey to become a dementia friendly town.”

In 2013, it was recorded 117 people were living with dementia in Lewes, but the estimate is there are double that, and this number is set to grow in the future.

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