Yesterday was the launch of Cornwall’s new Dementia Partnership, between the Dementia Alliance and Cornwall Council.
The Alzheimer’s Society has done a lot of work to form the Dementia Alliance, training Dementia Champions and encouraging people to become Dementia friends. There are currently 8 local Dementia Alliances in Cornwall and more forming.
It was a good day, Ken Emmet, who suffers from vascular dementia, and his wife Carol both spoke impressively about their experiences. When Ken was diagnosed, they could find little support where they lived in South East Cornwall but they have made sure that has changed significantly and they are now involved in a dynamic local alliance Dementia Voice PL12.
Other alliances have formed in Bodmin, Camelford, Falmouth, Liskeard, Penwith and Bodmin.
We heard also from Adam Sibley, author of Unbreakable Bond, about caring for his mother, who was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 51.
The day was also a celebration of work that is being done, with contributions from the police, fire and rescue, the Farming Community Network, the WI and the library service. It was thought provoking to learn of the difficulties particularly faced by farmers, who find it hard to access healthcare generally as there is often no-one to look after animalism their place. The Farming Community Network has a team of volunteers to help and is also working on a project, looking at the experiences of farming families with dementia, so please get in touch with them if that is you.
The day also some had some challenges. What can we do to make Cornwall more dementia friendly? What individual pledges can we make to help?
And from Jo Loosemore of Radio 4’s the Listening Project we heard clips of conversations about living with dementia and that out of 658 conversations recorded by the Listening Project, only 3 were about this. Her challenge to us in Cornwall, was to lead the way and do it here: record Cornwall’s stories of living with dementia properly.
A good and positive day and I hope just the beginning of more innovation to help our communities become dementia friendly. The steering group will be meeting soon to discuss feedback from the day and decide what to do next.