Plans for a Surrey-wide support network for people with dementia are set to take a giant leap forward with the opening of a clutch of new advice centres.
Centres are preparing to throw open their doors in Leatherhead, Knaphill and Bagshot in the coming months to provide a lifeline to those with dementia and their carers.
The new centres will arm people with all the information they need to spot the early signs of the condition and give carers support.
They will be part of a chain of 11 centres across Surrey to help people with dementia stay in their own homes for longer in what is believed to be the first scheme of its kind in the country*.
Around 14,500 people in Surrey have dementia, which equates to around one in 12 older people. By 2020, that figure is predicted to rise to over 17,000. In addition, the number of people aged over 85 in Surrey is expected to double in the next 20 years.
Organisations involved in creating the centres include Surrey County Council, the county’s 11 borough and district councils, Surrey and Borders NHS Foundation Trust, the Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK.
Mel Few, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “Protecting vulnerable people is at the heart of what the council does and with at least 2,500 more people in Surrey likely to be affected by dementia in the next few years alone, it’s vital we act now to provide the support people with the condition need.
“People with dementia tell us they want to stay living in their communities in familiar surroundings and by working as one team councils, voluntary groups and the NHS are doing all they can to help them stay independent.”
The county council has also has a £50,000 pot of cash available for communities in Surrey to make life better for thousands of people with dementia.
* Centres have already opened in Epsom and Ewell, Tandridge, Elmbridge, Spelthorne and Runnymede. Further centres are being planned for Waverley, Guildford and Reigate and Banstead.