A NEW campaign aiming to make York dementia friendly is being launched in the city today.
There are 2,725 people currently living with dementia in York and this number is expected to rise to 3,209 by 2020
'Dementia Friends' - a campaign launched by Public Health England and Alzheimer’s Society - is asking people in York to have a better understanding of dementia by watching a short interactive video online to increase their understanding of the disease.
The campaign is also due to feature on a new national advert tonight featuring famous faces perform The Beatles track With A Little Help From My Friends.
Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of health and wellbeing at City of York Council which is backing the campaign, said: “One in three of us over the age of 65 will develop dementia, an incredibly high statistic. But people with dementia can live well, and it is the responsibility of the rest of the community to help them do so.
“It is only by personally understanding the issues that people living with dementia face, can we fully appreciate the challenges they have to overcome on a day-to-day basis."
A number of businesses with shops in York have already signed up to the campaign and will be encouraging their employees to become Dementia Friends, including Marks & Spencer, Lloyds Bank and Superdrug.
Eileen Jaques, 69, from York, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 18 months ago and is cared for by her husband Richard, is still actively involved in her local community.
She said: "Before I retired, I worked mainly as a secretary or as a personal assistant, which involved a lot of typing and writing letters. I can still touch type as quickly as ever and I still have grammatical skills which don’t appear to have been affected by my dementia in any way. I am also a member of a reading group, volunteer each week at the Alzheimer’s Society and attend a dementia café.
"We’ve told some of our neighbours about my dementia and they have been very supportive with offers of help so we are very lucky.
"This sort of local support is ideal for people living with dementia and the more Dementia Friends Alzheimer’s Society is able to recruit the more dementia friendly our communities will be".
Dementia is arguably the biggest health crisis facing the UK with 665,065 people in England living with dementia.
City of York Council, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Dementia Forward are on a steering group working to make York a more dementia friendly city.
For further information on the campaign and how to become a Dementia Friend, please visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk