Supporting our vulnerable adults

Surrey deploys dementia advisers

A small army of dementia advisers have been deployed in Surrey to help people with the illness live independently in their own homes.

Specialist advisers* are visiting individuals, their carers and families to act as a guide and help them navigate the system to get help or access local services.

They provide information and advice on the choices available to the 14,000 people in Surrey with dementia, including the near 6,000 who are living with the illness but have not been diagnosed.

Michael Gosling

Michael Gosling

Only a third of adults over 40 are thought to understand the differences between normal signs of ageing and the onset of dementia. It means sufferers’ condition progresses faster and adds to the burden on their families as well as the cost to the NHS, which is thought to be more than £8 billion annually.

Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults Social Care and Health Michael Gosling said: “This is about helping people to live as active and normal lives as their health allows and ensuring the right support is in place to help them to stay independent in their own home for longer.

“Getting an early diagnosis of dementia is particularly important because knowing about the condition helps people gain control. It allows them and their families to seek the services they need and plan for the future.”

In 2010, National Clinical Director for Dementia Professor Alistair Burns described the council and NHS Surrey as leading the way with their joint plans for improving dementia care in Surrey.

Last year, the council created a system** for the Department of Health that local authorities nationally can use to track how successful initiatives to help people with dementia have been, allowing them to pinpoint where further improvements can be made.


* Surrey County Council, NHS Surrey and the Alzheimer’s Society got together to take on the advisers known as dementia navigators.

** The local reporting tool was devised after a request from the Department of Health’s director general of social care David Behan. It lets councils collect social care and health data together with people’s opinions and presents it in a simple format.


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