Dementia strategy launched in Leeds

National Dementia Awareness Week has been marked in Leeds with the launch of a strategy to help the city achieve its aim of being a dementia friendly community.

The Living Well with Dementia in Leeds Strategy was approved at yesterday’s (Wednesday 22 May) first meeting of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board.

Leeds City Council made a formal commitment to becoming a dementia-friendly community back in March 2012, as part of a nationwide initiative led by the Alzheimer’s Society and the Department of Health. Since then, representatives from voluntary and community groups, including neighbourhood networks, have worked with the council and the NHS to develop a list of priorities for improving health and social care for people with dementia in Leeds.

The Living Well with Dementia in Leeds Strategy provides an overview of local services and an action plan for the next three years. It sets out what local organisations are doing and are planning to do, in order to improve quality of life and care for people with dementia, families and carers.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, executive board member responsible for adult social care said:

“Our vision is for Leeds to be the best city in the UK, and as part of that, we have also made a commitment to become a dementia-friendly community.

“Dementia is one of the greatest challenges facing our ageing society. Research shows that one in three people over the age of 65 in the UK will develop dementia, with hundreds of thousands more being affected by the condition through a family member or friend.

“This strategy will provide us with a citywide approach to address some of the stigmas attached to dementia, and promote the idea that the condition is everyone’s business. With strong support networks in place from the earliest possible stages of dementia, people’s wellbeing will be maintained for longer and those living with the condition will be able to live better lives.”

Some of the positive things that are already happening in health and social care in Leeds are as follows:

• Extra investment into NHS memory services.

• Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust’s ‘Forget me not’ scheme to support patients with dementia and their carers, to find out more about patients’ preferences and habits, and preserve a familiar environment important to patients.

• Leeds City Council investing in more carer support.

• Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust ensuring that staff are trained in dementia, and Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust supporting staff through “dementia champions”.

• Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust enrolled nine support workers onto the course ‘Best practice in dementia care’ run by University of Stirling. The course helps staff develop existing skills and gain new knowledge and understanding which will improve their caring for people with dementia.

• Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust achieved its target for screening patients over 75 years old attending hospital for early signs of dementia.

Local services in Leeds have been pioneers for many important developments, including memory services; specialist services to support people with dementia in hospital, and to return home from hospital; peer support; dementia cafés and activities offered by voluntary and community groups. However, there is a great deal more to do to improve awareness, diagnosis and support; to ensure dementia is considered alongside other health conditions and needs, not in isolation; and to develop the workforce to provide person-centred care.

Work has also taken place to engage with a wide range of businesses and organisations outside of health and social care, who may previously not considered that they also have an important role in helping people to live well with dementia.


Additional info

Leeds City Council teamed up with Leeds Involving People and Leeds Alzheimer’s Society to put on a social and involvement event at Leeds Civic Hall on Tuesday, 21 May. Around 150 people attended, which included people living with dementia and family members / carers, members of Leeds Involving People and professionals. During the morning there were talks and discussions, which highlighted the difficulties posed by dementia, but how diagnosis and support from services and activities can make a real, positive difference. This was followed by lunch and a very successful and sociable afternoon dance.

For more information about Dementia Awareness Week in Leeds, please visit the Better Lives in Leeds blog here

For media enquiries, please contact;

Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk