When dementia first came into my life I soon began to look into every aspect of dementia in the community setting. Whilst people with dementia spend a lot of time interacting with health and social care services, you would expect, from the very nature of their ‘expected’ expertise, that this group would already be getting it right for people with dementia. Obviously I’ve realised,sadly, that this was a naïve assumption and they’re just as likely to need training as someone in a coffee shop.
So dementia friendly community, or I actually prefer the phrase, ‘people friendly’, should include health and social care but not exclusively. The medical model is all too often assumed to be correct because when people think of dementia they think of health and social care, but people with dementia would benefit greatly by integrating with the everyday community so society at large must become aware of how they can help people with dementia.
As well as businesses and organisations, the community themselves – the residents of the community – need to become ‘aware’ of the impact they can have on making it a safe and happy place for people to live. Many residents may have dementia in their lives, but how many realise how many in their community are also affected? After all, it’s all to often a ‘hidden’ disability……..