10th March 2019

People living with dementia and their carers will benefit from a bid to make Skegness the UK’s first dementia friendly seaside town.

Dementia friendly communities are vital in helping people live well with dementia while remaining part of their community.

Work is ongoing between NHS organisations, businesses and other bodies to provide environments that cater for those living with dementia.

The Skegness Dementia Action Alliance started out asking local businesses to become Dementia Friendly places, which has now expanded into some businesses also being a Dementia Friendly Safe Place. 

This means local businesses being able to offer support to anyone who feels lost or vulnerable when out in their community.

James Singleton, Programme Lead for Mental Health at Lincolnshire East Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “People affected by dementia often feel withdrawn from their community as their condition progresses.

“In a dementia friendly town, they can still offer an incredible amount to their community.

“We now have safe places in Skegness where those living with dementia - and their carers - can go to and feel safe and secure. 

“Businesses in Skegness have already changed their organisations to help those with dementia, such as changing black mats at the entrances to those with a pattern so they don’t appear like a black hole. 

“Dedicated quiet areas have also been given priority.

“These simple changes can make a massive difference to a person living with dementia as many feel that society fails to understand them. It helps prevent them becoming fearful of going outside into their community.

“Skegness has a much higher prevalence of people with dementia than the national average, as well as an above average ageing population and people at risk of developing dementia.

“That is why it is very important for Skegness to become a dementia friendly town.

“However, it should be seen as important for every town and not just Skegness. We should strive to achieve that all towns are Dementia Friendly.”

Staff in various organisations have done Dementia Friends Training so they are aware of what to look out for and how to look after customers with dementia.

Staff at GP practices will also be taking the training.

James said: “The idea that drives a dementia friendly community is that nobody affected by dementia should be excluded from their local community.

“People with dementia who become isolated are at a far greater risk of a range of health issues, and so becoming a dementia friendly town can help reduce hospital admissions and GP appointments.

“This will also support carers. If carers are not given enough support they can go into crisis, which has a knock on effect for both the carer and the person with dementia.

“By being dementia friendly, we can possibly decrease hospital admissions from those who could go into crisis by having long term support and respite in place.”

Any organisation wishing to become dementia friendly should contact Kerry Rye on Kerry.rye@lincolnshireeastccg.nhs.uk

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