Dementia Awareness Week: 15 – 21 May 2023
Health and care organisations across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) are getting together to raise awareness of dementia to enable the best possible outcomes for patient experience during referral, diagnosis and treatment of the illness.
Dementia Awareness Week (15 – 21 May), run by the Alzheimer’s Society, this year is focusing on early diagnosis.
Dr. Wafaa Nawaz, Mental Health and Learning Disability Lead at the LLR Integrated Care Board (ICB) said: “Supporting and helping people living with dementia and their carers remains a priority for local health and social care organisations. That is why we are working with all partners to produce the new Living Well with Dementia strategy which will be published in early 2024. For Dementia Awareness Week our message is to get help as soon as you can, as we know that early diagnosis is key in the treatment of dementia.
“We know that there is much to do and we welcome the report last week from Healthwatch, Living with Dementia in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, which represents the voices of people’s experiences of dementia services and makes clear recommendations regarding how improvements can be made.”
This Dementia Action Week partners in LLR hope to increase awareness of what help is available, and they are encouraging anyone concerned that they, or someone close to them, might be experiencing signs of dementia, to ‘Act On Dementia’ and seek out support and a diagnosis.
One key partner is Leicestershire County Council. Councillor Christine Radford, cabinet member for adults and communities, said: “We are pleased that current Living Well with Dementia Strategy has made significant achievements in improving the quality of life for people living with dementia and family and friends who support them.
“Help is available, including one-to-one Dementia Support, information sessions following diagnosis, benefits advice, memory cafes and social groups, informal carer learning, digital support and information packs, and we recognise how important this support is for anyone affected by a dementia diagnosis.”
This week, NHS England has also placed particular emphasis on people from ethnic minorities who often get even lower rates of diagnosis.
Vipul Patel, Deputy Lead for the memory service at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust said: “In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, the rates of diagnosis are lower than expected, which suggests there are patients we’re not aware of, with symptoms of dementia. This could partly be due to the fact that people from ethnic minorities often have a delayed diagnosis due to cultural barriers, and this has been highlighted in a new NHS guide. I would encourage people with concerns to use Alzheimer’s UK symptoms checklist, and if they have concerns, then to contact their GP.”
Events during Dementia Awareness week (May 2023)
Thursday 18th May 10:30- 12:30
Leicestershire County Council Chambers
Leicester Memory Music box are running a Musical Memory Café aimed at those living with dementia and their carers. The session will be led by a skilled leader who will use music, singing and visual props to encourage an interactive social session. Refreshments – tea, coffee & biscuits are provided.
South Asian Health Action UK
Are working in partnership with Alzheimer’s research UK to deliver a dementia training programme. In LLR we have 15 South Asian dementia trained champions.
To access this support please contact SAHA, Kirit Mistry email@example.com
Somali Development Services
Dementia Awareness Session
The session is designed to provided Dementia education– the health conditions that can cause memory loss, the early symptoms of Dementia, the difference between Ageing and Dementia, how people can reduce the risk of Dementia and where they can get support. This is open to people from ethnic diverse backgrounds (Somali, Bengali, Arabs, Indian).
Call 0116 285 5888 for more information.
Dementia Friendly Choir!
Groby Sings is a dementia-friendly community choir, singing a mix of old and new favourites. Everyone, whatever their ability, is welcome and there are no auditions; it’s a great place to make new friends and share the joy of music. For details email firstname.lastname@example.org
Support for people living with dementia
If you have any concerns about symptoms, please act. There is a symptom checker on Alzheimer’s UKs website here – Checklist for possible dementia symptoms | Alzheimer’s Society (alzheimers.org.uk)
Or please contact your GP
Access the new NHS Guidance for dementia and ethnic minorities here
Organisations Supporting people with dementia
Leicestershire County Council – Living with dementia guide to support in the county www.leicestershire.gov.uk/adult-social-care-and-health/living-independently-at-home/living-with-dementia
Age UK – commissioned to provide a Memory Advice Service for individuals worried about their memory or who are waiting for an assessment at the Memory Clinic and a Dementia Support Service for individuals who have a formal diagnosis of dementia.
People can be referred in by professionals but can also self-refer by contacting the service on 0116 2237363 or via email at Dementia.Support@ageukleics.org.uk.
As well as personalised information and support and benefits advice being offered as the person requires, the service also facilitates a range of groups across the city and county. These groups include post diagnostic information sessions, carer learning, memory cafes, cognitive stimulation therapy, music groups, woodworking groups, all designed to improve people’s wellbeing and confidence, and connect them with other people in a similar situation. The service provides a Chai & Nashto group, which is run by Gujarati, Punjabi and Hindi speaking staff. The service has also recently launched the Kumbukumbu Music & Memories group run in collaboration with the EAGA Gospel Choir, with the hope of providing an accessible group to individuals identifying as African or Caribbean. A strong aim of this service is to provide people with information as soon as possible in order to increase their control, prevent crisis and enable them to plan for the future. Working together with other organisations and community groups is essential to better meet the needs of our diverse community and provide equity of service.
– Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust – provides the Memory Assessment Service for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. The service assesses and diagnoses people with suspected dementia and arranges treatment where appropriate.
The service also works closely with carers to support them and their relative through the assessment process. It also signposts carers so that they are getting the support they need. Recent improvements have seen the time taken to get a diagnosis halved which means that our patients are able to live well with dementia sooner.
Healthwatch in LLR – representing the voice of the patient and carer
Recent, independent research conducted by Healthwatch in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland has highlighted inconsistencies in people’s access to, and use of, support services for dementia.
The new report Living with Dementia in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland presents detailed findings on people’s experiences of dementia services and makes clear recommendations regarding how improvements can be made.
Healthwatch Rutland can be contacted on 01572 720381. Healthwatch Leicester and Healthwatch Leicestershire can be contacted 0116 257 4999.