Plans to make Downham dementia friendly

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Downham could become a dementia friendly community under new plans.

Members of Downham’s University of the Third Age group is to hold a meeting in St Edmund’s Church Hall, Church Road, on Thursday to promote the plans.

Dementia Friendly Communities are springing up across the country and aim to help patients feel included.

The initiative aims to help people with dementia find their way safely around the town, access shops and other facilities along with social activities and clubs.

There are 750,000 people living in the UK with dementia.

Estimates suggested there were 12,194 people living in Norfolk with the condition in 2010 but this is expected to rise to 17,000 by 2021.

Chairman of the Downham’s U3A group Joan Alfred is encouraging people to attend.

She said: “Downham has a high proportion of ageing people. We need to be ensuring that people are cared for in the community.

“If people have more understanding about the condition they will be able to help more.”

The club’s care in the community group, under Richard Ehlers, is taking the lead on this project and is looking to form a steering committee.

Jo Mountjoy-Dixon from Norfolk Age UK has worked in a number of areas across the county to support the setting up of Dementia Friendly Communities and she will be coming to the first meeting of the steering committee to explain how her organisation can help with the development and funding of this project.

Downham already has a monthly dementia cafe while The Chequers at Wimbotsham hosts a popular pub lunch which aims to provide a fun afternoon for those with dementia and their carers.