ENORMOUS challenges can often lie ahead for dementia sufferers, their carers and their families.
But with the right awareness and support, the process can be far easier.
As part of Dementia Awareness Week, May 18-24, Chichester District Council has arranged a series of activities and is signposting support for sufferers and carers alike.
Cllr Eileen Lintill, cabinet member for wellbeing and community services at Chichester District Council, said: “Dementia is a cruel disease, that affects thousands of people across our area.
“It is vital that we work with our local communities to raise awareness of the support that exists for both the person with dementia and their carer.
“This is why Dementia Awareness Week is so important.”
Working alongside mental health charity MIND, Chichester District Council has arranged a series of activities to support those with dementia and their carers at the Novium Museum.
The council has also arranged training to help people understand dementia, which is not only targeted at council staff but also other organisations, such as shops and family members who would find it useful.
Last week, Cllr Lintill, Catherine Coleman, learning and participation officer at The Novium Museum, Elaine Thomas, community wellbeing manager at Chichester District Council, and Brenda Jackson, Chichester Careline manager met at The Novium Museum, in Tower Street, Chichester, to discuss dementia support.
Cllr Lintill praised the work of Chichester Careline.
“Their Mindme alarm has already helped to save lives, while allowing the person with dementia the chance to retain their independence and freedom,” she said.
Chichester Careline supports more than 21,000 clients, operates 24 hours a day 365 days a year and has received international recognition.
Careline manager Brenda said: “It is a really positive support for people.
“That’s why we want to extend it to as many people as we can.”
The Alzheimer’s Society has launched its dementia friends campaign to help raise awareness for the condition in the community.
“We are proud to support this too and would encourage as many people as possible to sign up,” said Cllr Lintill.
Alzheimer’s Society is a membership organisation, which works to improve the quality of life of people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
For more information about the society visit The Alzheimers’ Soceity website or call the helpline on 0300 222 1122.
A PIECE of technology which can be attached to house keys is already helping to transform the lives of people with dementia.
The Mindme locating device is monitored by Chichester Careline, which is run by Chichester District Council.
The service supports those who are vulnerable, every day of the year.
The device is a small GPS locator – which, using a website, can help track people who might become disorientated. A device has also been developed which allows the user to speak directly to Chichester Careline.
The wife of a man from Midhurst, who went missing while on holiday, has said Chichester Careline’s Mindme locating device for those with dementia, saved his life.
The device can locate people anywhere in Europe through the control centre in Chichester.
As previously reported by the Observer, John Dunn, 73, who has Alzheimer’s, had been walking with his family near Durdle Door on Christmas Day.
His wife, Rosemary, 62 called Chichester Careline to ask if they could locate her husband.
Staff from Chichester Careline explained John’s co-ordinates to a South Western Ambulance volunteer responder and the Lulworth Coastguard Rescue Team which had joined the family in their search.
John, who had attempted to climb over a barbed wire fence, was located on a farm track, west of Durdle Door, and taken to hospital with the early signs of hypothermia.
“If John hadn’t been wearing the device around his neck, it would have been very difficult to locate him,” said Rosemary.
“I panicked as soon as I realised John was missing. I cannot explain how much of a relief it is to know that when you have lost someone, there is a way of finding them again.”
Sussex Police is also backing the scheme. Sergeant Suzie Mitchell from Sussex Police said: “We regularly have to search for missing people with dementia. It is heart-breaking to see the torment their families are put through – and to see the impact it has on the person with dementia when they are found.”
Chichester Careline is the only centre in the country which monitors devices.
Brenda Jackson, manager, said: “We do have amazing support mechanisms across the district, which fit together amazingly. We just need people to know about it.”
n Try Chichester Careline’s lifeline unit free for three months and the Mindme unit free for one month. Call 01243 778688 or visit Chichester Careline’s website quoting the Observer.