Conference unites people against dementia

On Thursday 18 May, Warwickshire County Council held a special conference at Bedworth Civic Hall with the aim of uniting people against dementia.

The conference, which took place during Dementia Awareness Week, was hosted by the Community Safety and Locality Working service and supported by Public Health. The event included keynote speakers from the Alzheimer’s Society.

Over 80 delegates attended the event representing a very wide range of agencies, caring organisations, community groups, people who are living with dementia and their carers.

During the day’s workshop, activities generated discussion and debate about what really matters to people living with dementia and ideas about what can be done to make Nuneaton and Bedworth more dementia-friendly.

The day started with a keynote speech from Janice LeTellier, Operations Manager for the Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry and Warwickshire branches of the Alzheimer’s Society, who spoke about the challenges from a national perspective.

Claire Taylor, Health Improvement Lead for WCC Public Health, gave a talk on what services are in place locally to support people with dementia; and Kat Horner, Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Communities Officer responsible for the West Midlands, spoke about the work of the Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance.

A deeply moving and poignant talk was given by Mr Clive Knight, who spoke of his personal experiences caring for his wife Kathleen who had dementia for seven years and who sadly passed away earlier this month.

There were three workshops with subject areas covering what really matters to people living with dementia; how to make environmental improvements for people living with dementia; and how to form a local dementia action alliance. There were also sessions for delegates to find out more about the condition and become a dementia friend.

There was a tremendous amount of enthusiasm amongst all delegates for building upon the ideas and knowledge shared during the day by forming a local dementia alliance to carry forward the ideas. Many useful suggestions were put forward about how to raise awareness of dementia and tackle the stigma of dementia. During the day, a fantastic 16 delegates became dementia friends.

Dr John Linnane, Warwickshire County Council’s Director of Public Health, said:

“Creating a dementia friendly community in Nuneaton and Bedworth and across Warwickshire is a key part of Warwickshire’s Living Well with Dementia strategy.

“This event has provided a valuable opportunity for members of the local community to come together to create a more dementia friendly borough. We would encourage local people to visit Warwickshire’s Living Well with Dementia website to find out more about support and services in the area and to also become a dementia friend at dementiafriends.org.uk

More information about Living Well with dementia in Warwickshire is available on the website: https://dementia.warwickshire.gov.uk/