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Can cities become dementia friendly?

5 October 2012

Can cities become dementia friendly?

Slow routes for elderly walkers, less street signs and special training for shop staff and taxi drivers could transform Britain’s cities for people living with dementia.

Leisure centres could introduce new sessions which enable people with dementia to take part, and bus timetables could be made simpler.

These ideas come from a project aiming to make York Britain’s first “dementia friendly” city.  Experts examined every part of everyday life to see how the city could be adapted to accommodate people with the condition.  People in the city, who currently live with the disease, were also consulted to find out how life could be made easier for them.

With 800,000 people in the UK living with dementia and this likely to double over the next 30 years, it is hope that the new plans will become a model for other cities.

“Most people want to try to carry on as normally as possible, for as long as possible, and they will persevere so long as they do not have to overcome additional obstacles or burdens,” said Philly Hare, of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said,  “We should celebrate that people are living longer, healthier lives, but of course that means there will be some challenges for us as a society.  We need to adapt and refocus to ensure that we are caring for the most vulnerable around us.   You can tell how healthy a society is by how it treats the most vulnerable.”