Call to make town dementia-friendly

PUBLISHED: 14:19 21 March 2013 | UPDATED: 14:19 21 March 2013

Home Instead's Mark McGlade with dementia campaigner Norman McNamara.

Home Instead's Mark McGlade with dementia campaigner Norman McNamara.

Archant

Budleigh Salterton is to be encouraged by a new campaign to become a dementia-friendly community.

The campaign is being spearheaded by Mark McGlade of care provider Home Instead, based on a scheme set up by dementia sufferer Norman McNamara in Torquay.

It will encourage traders in the town to bear in mind the needs of customers with dementia, but also seeks to involve the whole community.

There are currently around 880 dementia sufferers in Exmouth and Budleigh, and this number is expected to double in the next 20 years.

Mark said: “A lot of people in Budleigh [with dementia] are isolated, not going out into the community because society is not quite knowing how to deal with them.

“We’ve got to get an education programme for people in the community so they understand a bit more about it.”

Businesses who take part in the scheme will be given information about ways they can accommodate customers with dementia, such as giving them more time to count out their money, and not having a black doormat – which dementia sufferers may perceive as a hole in the ground.

They will then be able to display a sticker saying that they are dementia friendly.

Mark said: “People would recognise ‘in this shop people are trained, I can go in and be looked after.

“Businesses should consider it as it’s the right thing to do, and also if people with dementia aren’t coming into shops it’s not just them but families, carers, husbands.

“It will increase the number of people that come into town to shop, and the most important thing is it’s good for the social interaction that people with dementia really need.”

Mark says he has already received support from the Chamber of Commerce and Budleigh in Business, but he says it is not just about traders, but the whole town.

“We will engage with church leaders, health professionals, the voluntary sector including Age Concern, the Alzheimers Society, Lions Club, Rotary Club, schools, local clubs and organisations, PCSOs, fire and ambulance services, town councillors, care homes, solicitors and local shops and businesses.

“It’s about making Budleigh a dementia friendly community. Business is part of that, but it’s also about all the societies and organisations that we have.”

Any businesses, voluntary groups, local organisations, carers groups or family members interested in supporting the dementia friendly initiative, or who would be interested in attending a free family workshop on dementia should contact Home Instead in Brook Road, Budleigh Salterton on 01395 200600, or visit their website at www.homeinstead.co.uk/eastdevon.

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