The council’s adult social care team, in partnership with community organisations including the Alzheimer’s Society, Slough CVS, Thames Valley Police, Healthwatch Slough and Wexham Park Hospital, hosted an eclectic roster of activities in support of Dementia Action Week last week.
The theme for the week was ‘even elephants forget’, and sessions throughout the borough focused on promoting health and self care; as well as highlighting support and services residents can connect with locally.
Events and activities included singing, yoga, disabled football, dementia awareness training, the opening of a new dementia-friendly day room, a dementia presentation in Punjabi and a talk by Tommy Whitelaw, who swapped a showbiz job working with the likes of the Spice Girls, Kylie and U2, to care for this late mother. Tommy is now touring the country raising awareness of the condition, as well as sharing his own experiences and fellow carers’ stories.
In addition, the main flagship event took place in the town centre last Monday, featuring a range of activities including health checks by Solutions4Health, sport and physical activities for all abilities from Active Slough, plus support, advice and information from the Memory Clinic, Age UK, Shelter, the council’s trading standards team and The Curve.
On the day, Slough CVS also highlighted how they can support carers at the event, while signing up people for the Slough Carers Discount Card and Thames Valley Police promoted the Herbert Protocol – a new tool to help vulnerable missing people.
The event was the first official engagement of the newly appointed Mayor of Slough, councillor Paul Sohal, who spoke with residents on the importance of raising awareness of dementia and providing support for those affected in Slough.
He said: “Dementia can be a very frightening and lonely condition for those who are affected by it.
“We want to make sure that people with dementia, their families and carers know what local support and advice is available to them and where to go to get it.
“We also want to raise awareness about the condition, so there is more tolerance and understanding about it in our town, as it is a condition that affects all groups of people.
“Dementia Action Week is the time to ask everyone to take action to improve the everyday lives of people affected by dementia.
“We hope that a legacy from the week will be that the residents of our town will have more understanding about people with dementia and those who care for them.”
Councillor Natasa Pantelic, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “There are around a thousand people aged 65 or over living with some form of dementia in Slough and we are seeing a growing number of young people diagnosed with dementia too.
“Bringing our partners together to support people with dementia, and their carers, is part of our Reach Out campaign launching next month, tackling loneliness and social isolation.
“We know there are people with dementia who are often isolated and lonely and it is critical they get the right support when they most need it.”
Sarah Walker, services manager for the Alzheimer’s Society in Berkshire, said: “There are more than 8,200 people living with dementia in Berkshire.
“Raising awareness and offering support will always be important, but it’s time we all act to make change happen for people affected by dementia.
“In the UK, one person develops dementia every three minutes and almost everyone knows someone whose life has been affected. Yet too many people face the condition alone without adequate support.
“We loved seeing Slough residents during Dementia Action Week taking action for people affected by dementia.”
For full details on the events that took place, visit: http://www.slough.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/dementia-awareness.aspx