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Launch of the Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

A community focused response to caring for the growing number of people with dementia has been launched by Andover Mind and Hampshire County Council

By 2020 the number of people living with dementia in the county is set to rise by 30 per cent to 24,000. The business community is being called upon in particular to get involved to enable people to live well with the condition.

100 people representing Hampshire businesses and organisations attended the launch of the Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance showing their support for helping people with Dementia. Shops, leisure companies, transport providers, health and social care organisations and charities are now all being asked to sign up to the Alliance and pledge their commitment to creating Dementia Friendly Communities.

Speakers at the successful launch event at the Norton Park Hotel near Winchester on 3 September included Mike Taylor, the manager of Fareham Shopping Centre who was one of the first to sign up for the Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance.

He said: "While dementia can affect any age range, it predominantly affects the older generation and as Fareham Shopping Centre serves an older demographic, we could see our involvement would be beneficial from a business perspective."

Welcoming the launch, the Executive Member for Adult Social Care at Hampshire County Council, Councillor Anna McNair Scott, said: "This is part of the way the Council is adapting to meet the changing needs and aspirations of older people by developing new ways of providing care and support which will help people to remain as independent as possible, for as long as possible. Making communities better places to live for people with dementia is something we want all Hampshire's organisations to sign up to, not just health and social care groups.

"We are all likely to know someone with dementia and understanding more about what it is and how we can help is becoming increasingly important. By better understanding the needs of those with dementia we can give people with the condition the help they need to be retain their independence and carry out their everyday activities. For example they may need help to find things they wish to buy when shopping."

Guests at the launch were given an insight into the condition when Simon Quarrell, 63, from Odiham in Hampshire shared his story.

In his working life he was an advisor to governments and major corporations - he was the worldwide leader of strategy consulting for KPMG and in recent years he was chief executive for a global business consultancy firm.

Towards the end of 2012, Simon was diagnosed with Semantic Dementia - a progressive loss of the ability to remember the meaning of words, faces and objects, which results from shrinkage of the temporal lobes of the brain.

"I hope that by getting involved I can help people with dementia and also the companies who want to support this initiative," he said.

Chief Executive Officer of Andover Mind, Debra Ramchurn, said: "We were delighted to see so many different organisations coming together at the launch in support of people with dementia.

"Since we started in March, we have had an excellent response to the dementia friendly communities project from the wider community. Our local co-ordinators are looking forward to working with more organisations on their action plans in the coming months."

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