South West Surrey MP Jeremy Hunt has joined a growing band of people in Surrey helping to make life better for people with dementia.
The Health Secretary has joined newspaper proprietor Sir Ray Tindle in signing up to lend a helping hand to those with the condition.
The initiative is part of a push by Surrey County Council and three newly-formed clinical commissioning groups – North East Hampshire and Farnham, North West Surrey and Guildford and Waverley – to ensure Surrey is dementia friendly.
Free training sessions will be offered to combat the stigma attached to dementia and provide support to family, friends and work colleagues so they can help people with the condition remain active and independent in their communities.
A pharmacy, a dental practice and a health club are among the 33 organisations that have already signed up to be a Dementia Friendly Surrey Champion together with a string of individuals and a host of events will be held across Surrey this month to encourage more to do so.
Around 15,000 people in Surrey aged over 65 have dementia. By 2020, that figure is predicted to rise to over 17,000.
Mr Hunt said: “I am delighted to be able to sign up as a dementia champion as part of Surrey County Council’s Dementia Friendly initiative. It is one of my main priorities as Health Secretary as I really think attitudes to dementia do need to change – it feels a bit like where cancer was in the 1960s, something everyone is afraid of but no one likes to talk about.
“This particular initiative, conceived with the help of brilliant Farnham GP Dr Ed Wernick and his Dementia Local Implementation Team, is truly innovative as it raises awareness by encouraging businesses, organisations and individuals to become involved.”
Mel Few, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “Too many people with dementia feel lonely without the support and understanding they need and this is about small things that can be done in communities to make a big difference.”
For more information, visit Surrey Information Point.
To read a story about the initiative published by the Guardian, follow this link.