Supporting people with Dementia

Good health is vital in supporting independence – as we go through a period of profound change in the health system. Conditions like dementia are increasing demand on services that are already being stretched and the old ways of caring for people need to change. This isn’t about reducing care, it is about making sure that people are able to look after themselves, are as healthy as they can be, and that the help they receive is targeted to their needs. This is a national issue, not just a local Staffordshire one. It is a challenge that requires us to all work together, bringing the right resources, services and people together in the right place at the right time.

This month we saw Dementia Awareness Week which gave us a good opportunity to raise awareness of the issue and the importance of having services in place to cope with the growing number of cases. Dementia affects many people in Staffordshire and has a major impact on the lives of their families and carers. This growing number of people affected by the condition presents extra challenges for councils and their services and it is vital we start to plan for it now. An estimated 11,000 people in Staffordshire are living with some form of dementia, with the number expecting to rise over the next few years.

Last week we revealed proposals to build ‘Centres of Excellence’ for dementia care in Staffordshire, one in Burton and one in Lichfield. These along with the new Limewood development at Northfield Village in Stafford means that Staffordshire will have some of the best dementia care in the country. We are also leading the way with dementia friendly communities by forming a local Dementia Action alliance with our partners in Stoke on Trent and other organisations. With our reception staff being trained to become ‘dementia friends’ it also means they are able to spot the signs of dementia and can provide a much more reassuring service to people with the condition. Families can also be assured that loved ones will see a friendly and understanding face when they now visit the council.

On another topic, we are looking forward to welcoming members of the armed forces back from Germany to the county. We have a strong connection with our armed forces with large bases in Stafford and Lichfield and we are due to be welcoming even more personnel and their families to the county in 2015. We have been planning for this over the past few years with our partners and will see the building of 346 more MoD homes on Beaconside and preparations for a new 402-place primary school. This is all good news for the county town, and will help to regenerate the area.

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