DEMENTIA patients should have control over their own lives and feel like valued members of society according to a powerful new group launched in Yorkshire.

The Dementia Action Alliance (DAA), a national movement which has a base in York, launched its Yorkshire and Humber operation yesterday and has already gained the backing of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

Public, private and charity organisations throughout the region will now be urged to sign up to the DAA to help make Yorkshire more “dementia friendly”, for the 64,000 people living with the illness in our region.

Speaking at the launch in Leeds yesterday was Philly Hare, manager of JRF’s Dementia Without Walls programme, who said: “We really need to think about breaking down those walls which keep people lurking in their houses afraid to go out.

“It is possible to live a good life even with dementia.”

Fellow speaker Sandie Keene said some areas of Yorkshire lagged behind others in recognising the disease.

“I don’t want to name and shame,” she said. “But in Yorkshire and the Humber there are, that we know about, 61,000 people living with dementia and across the region there’s a disparity. It raises questions about how good we are at diagnosing people – we need to get better at it.”

The DAA will now be pressing organisation to take up initiatives designed to improve dementia awareness and understanding.

Miss Hare said: “We need to encourage more dementia-friendly communities. Through our work in York, we have learnt that many of the resources and services in a place can be harnessed for the benefit of people with dementia. By striving to more dementia riendly we can maintain and boost the confidence of people in the earlier stages of dementia and their ability to manage everyday living.”

For information on how you can sign up, go to or contact Simon Wallace at