Leeds health and social care leaders attend dementia-awareness session
Senior National Health Service and social care leaders in Leeds were given an insight into the issues surrounding dementia at an awareness session last week.
Members of the council’s health and wellbeing board undertook training run by the Alzheimer’s Society to find out more about what it is like to live with dementia and how as a city Leeds can create a dementia friendly society.
A combination of workshops and scenarios were undertaken to aid the board in understanding issues surrounding dementia in Leeds, the stigma attached to the condition, and the experiences of somebody living with dementia.
At the end of the session the board agreed to become ‘dementia friends’, further reinforcing the commitment made in May when the members formally endorsed the Leeds ‘Living Well with Dementia’ strategy as part of the aim for Leeds to become a dementia-friendly city.
One in three people over 65 will develop dementia, and currently 8,500 people are living with the condition in Leeds, with this figure predicted to rise by 40 per cent in the next 15 years.
Dementia is not a natural part of ageing, but is caused by diseases of the brain affecting men and women, and is seen through symptoms such as memory loss, mood changes and communication problems. The risk of developing dementia increases with age, although a healthy diet and lifestyle may help protect against the condition.
Chair of Leeds City Council’s health and wellbeing board Councillor Lisa Mulherin said:
“This was an important session for board members to increase their awareness of this issue. We discussed dementia both in the context of our health and social care leadership roles and also in our own personal experiences, with many of the board testifying to having a close friend or family member with dementia.
“I would highly recommend the training to any public-facing organisation and hope that businesses as well as public sector organisations across the city will take up this opportunity to help to make Leeds a dementia friendly city.
“In Leeds we believe that dementia is everybody’s business. As a society we need to ask, listen, support and respect each other as part of the broader vision of being the best city for health and wellbeing. I’m delighted that we have now agreed to roll out this awareness across each organisation’s leadership teams.”
For information on dementia visit www.leeds.gov.uk/dementia or www.alzheimers.org.uk
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