Tomorrow I am delighted to be speaking at a ‘Call to Action’ event to build a dementia friendly Oldham.
I have personal experience of dementia, having provided respite care for my mother, who had Alzheimer’s disease. Sadly, she died in 2012 but I now want to help other families who may be going through a similar situation.
Developing a Dementia-Friendly Oldham is one of my top ten priorities in my constituency work. Thousands of families in Oldham have been, or are being, affected by this disease and evidence shows the incidence of dementia is rising.
I’m proud to be joining with Oldham Council’s Dementia Partnership and the Alzheimer’s Society to work towards a dementia-friendly Oldham by creating a local Dementia Action Alliance. We hope the Alliance will bring together people from the NHS, council and other businesses and organisations to help improve the lives of those living with dementia and their carers .
We want to break the stigma that people living with dementia face and raise awareness and understanding. The Alliance asks Oldham and Saddleworth’s shops, businesses and organisations to take on the challenge of becoming dementia-friendly and set standards for other areas across the country.
Last year I became a Dementia Friend, which built on my knowledge of what it is like to live with dementia, as every person is an individual and has a different experience of the disease. This year I’m going to train to become a Dementia Champion so that I can make a positive difference to people living with dementia in our community.
In my Dementia Champion role I will be able to recruit more Dementia Friends who in turn will take actions to improve lives of those with dementia and their carers. I hope to set up a session locally and one in Parliament for MPs.