Dementia delegates visit town

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A team of delegates from a group dedicated to making life easier for people living with dementia visited Kirkintilloch recently.

East Dunbartonshire Council hosted the event for the Memory-Friendly Neighbourhoods Network as part of a Scottish Universities programme.

Delegates joined local people affected with dementia to take part in a ‘Walk your Neighbourhood’ event. The 40 participants split into small groups who were tasked with walking around different parts of Kirkintilloch as people with dementia used the Age Scotland ‘Walk in our Shoes’ toolkit to assess how easily they could navigate the town centre.

The participants rated various public areas in Kirkintilloch, from signage, pedestrian access, disabled parking to age friendly seating, according to how easily negotiated they were.

East Dunbartonshire Dementia Network and its partners are promising to deliver two dementia friendly areas by 2014 and a further two by 2016.

Councillor Michael O’Donnell, the council’s convener of social work, said: “The council and its partners in the Dementia Network offer fantastic support for people with dementia in our area.

This event allowed us to showcase some of the local assets and support that’s offered all year round through East Dunbartonshire Dementia Network. However, we are not complacent and the feedback provided by participants will give us a useful insight into what still needs to be done and help shape future work in this area.

“People who have dementia and their families are often subject to stigma and experience isolation and depression. Dementia friendly means improving opportunities for inclusion through awareness and dementia sensitive environments. This in turn will ensure that people with dementia enjoy the same quality of life as other East Dunbartonshire residents despite the challenges they experience.

“Dementia inclusive communities support and promote the capabilities of the person with dementia at home, or in homely settings, as they move from self-managing the illness with support to needing more intensive support.”