‘Dementia-friendly’ community plea
Tuesday 3rd September 2013, 12:10AM BST.
More than 180,000 dementia sufferers feel “trapped in their own homes”, a charity has warned.
The Alzheimer’s Society said that more than a third (35%) of people with dementia only leave their homes once a week.
And one in 10 get out just once a month, according to a poll of 510 people with dementia and carers.
A new report by the organisation states that many people with dementia are not able to take part in activities that they enjoyed before they developed the condition.
In fact, almost one in 10 (9%) of respondents said they had had to stop doing all of the things they used to do, and 28% of sufferers said they had to give up leaving their homes altogether.
The charity, which extrapolated figures obtained by the survey to estimate that as many as 184,800 UK sufferers feel “trapped” in their own homes , said that dementia sufferers are being “let down” by their communities.
The poll found that 44% of sufferers feel like a burden and so avoid getting involved with local life.
And just two in five think their local area is geared up to help them live well with their decline in brain function.
The Alzheimer’s Society called on communities across the country to be more “dementia friendly” to help patients to remain independent and stay out of care for longer.
Improving stigma around the condition, having accessible transport and businesses that are “respectful and responsive”, are all factors which could improve quality of life for sufferers, a charity spokeswoman said.
Alzheimer’s Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes said: “It’s shocking and saddening that so many people with dementia feel trapped and cut off from everyday local life. It’s encouraging to see some communities have started on their journey of change but it needs to be a priority for everyone to act now. It’s vital we empower people with dementia and their carers.
“By committing to change, communities can give people with dementia the confidence to be part of local life and stay independent for longer. It’s vital that people sign up to the recognition process to kick-start this movement and help change attitudes and behaviour.”
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt added: “The dementia timebomb is one of the most pressing challenges this country faces in the years ahead. We have made real progress in starting to tackle this challenge, with over £50 million going towards dementia friendly health and care environments, and the first ever G8 Dementia Research Summit to be held in December this year.
“But this report makes clear that we need to go further and faster to change attitudes and build awareness in our communities. This government is backing communities to give people with dementia all the help and support they need to live well with this illness.”
It is estimated that 800,000 people suffer from dementia in the UK. It has been estimated that the figure will soar to 1.7 million by 2051.