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Group works to make town more aware of condition
Keighley people caring for relatives with Alzheimer’s are campaigning to make the town ‘dementia friendly’.
Families have met with professional workers and councillors to discuss how to make life easier for those with the condition.
They want to ensure carers know where to go to for advice, information and support services.
They are seeking people willing to become ‘Dementia Champions’, who can help the general public understand what it is like to live with the condition.
And they plan to ask supermarkets and shop chains to undertake awareness training for their staff.
Efforts are likely to culminate in a town centre publicity event during National Dementia Awareness Week in May.
Members of the Keighley group include Keighley West councillor, Jan Smithies, as well as Sandra Kelly and her father, Michael Evans, who both care for Sandra’s 74-year-old mother, Mary.
Dementia Friends is a national campaign to give people with dementia a helping hand in their daily lives and enable them to feel included in the local community.
A public meeting was held in Keighley in December to gather ideas, and this week’s follow-up involved more detailed discussion.
Sandra said: “It’s something that really needs pushing forward to make people aware.
“I don’t think people realise what a sacrifice carers have to make. My mother is totally dependent on my dad for everything.
“When my mum got the diagnosis eight years ago, we didn’t know much. It’s only in the past 12 months that we discovered help was available. Now we’re trying to make it easier for people to find out what’s available.”
Sandra said the Airedale Shopping Centre and Keighley bus station had already shown an interest in the Dementia Friendly campaign.
She added: “We have to get in touch with supermarkets and big shops, and we want to get information into GP surgeries.”
The intention is big shops and other public areas will each have someone trained in dementia awareness so they can help customers in need.
E-mail email@example.com to get involved in the project.
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