Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner becomes a ‘Dementia Friend’

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball has pledged to become a ‘Dementia Friend’, supporting the Alzheimer’s Society’s initiative to raise awareness and create a dementia-friendly community across the county.

Dementia Friends Champion Jill Turley was invited to lead a 45-minute information session for staff from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, helping to explain some of the issues faced by people living with dementia and what steps can be taken to improve the quality of their lives.

A little awareness and understanding can go a long way

Ron Ball

At the end, all of the staff pledged their commitment to the initiative.

With nearly two thirds of people with dementia experiencing loneliness and almost half reporting to have lost friends after their diagnosis, Dementia Friends was launched in February 2013 to tackle the stigma and lack of understanding which means that many people with the condition can face social exclusion.

The initiative, which is jointly run by the Alzheimer’s Society with Public Health England, combines face-to-face information sessions and online videos to help people learn more about dementia and the small things they can do to make a difference.

Across Warwickshire, 6,000 people have already become Dementia Friends, with a target of topping 10,000 by the end of June.

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball said: “Many of us will know of a relative or friend who has been affected by dementia and I was keen to learn more about the practical things that can be done to help people live well with the disease. The information session delivered by Jill was really informative and eye-opening to the challenges people with dementia face.

“I would highly recommend people get involved and arrange for sessions at their workplaces or community groups.

“There are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and 45,000 are under the age of 65. These numbers are set to rise to a staggering 1 million by 2025, so this is a large but sometimes overlooked part of our community.

“I am keen to make sure that we are inclusive of all part of society, so I was more than pleased to play my part in helping make Warwickshire a dementia-friendly community.

“A little awareness and understanding can go a long way and I would urge everyone to find out more and become a Dementia Friend themselves.”

For everything you need to know about dementia, including support and services in your area, or to organise an information session in your workplace or community group, visit the Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Portal at www.livingwellwithdementia.org or follow them on Twitter @DementiaCandW.