Elevating Dementia Care to a Primary Focus in Croydon

credit: carehome.co.uk

London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Croydon has taken a steadfast commitment to enhancing the quality of care and support for individuals living with dementia and their caregivers, enabling them to lead vibrant and engaged lives. The newly established Dementia Strategic Plan in Croydon provides a clear roadmap for the borough to fulfill the promises made in achieving and maintaining its Dementia Friendly status, which it successfully regained in May of this year.

This prestigious recognition was granted to Croydon by the Alzheimer’s Society, the UK’s foremost dementia-focused charity. The comprehensive plan has been devised through collaborative efforts by Croydon’s Dementia Action Alliance, which comprises key stakeholders such as Croydon Council, Age UK Croydon, local health and social care services, emergency services, the voluntary sector, and other vital contributors.

Many People Suffering from Dementia

In close collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Society and individuals impacted by dementia, they are dedicated to creating a more inclusive environment in the borough, particularly for the estimated 3,500 people living with this condition. One notable initiative in this effort is Age UK Croydon’s Memory Tree Café, where a variety of engaging social activities, as well as valuable information and advice, are offered to combat the sense of isolation often experienced by those affected by dementia within their community.

Notably, the Dementia Plan holds a prominent position within the business plan of Croydon’s Executive Mayor, Jason Perry. It serves as a key priority, aligning with his vision to empower residents to lead healthier and more independent lives for extended periods.

Additionally, Croydon hosts the Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain group, a remarkable local initiative that facilitates individuals with dementia in connecting with new people in a welcoming, enjoyable, and social setting. It’s important to note that one need not possess exceptional singing talent to reap the benefits—participating can enhance brain activity, overall well-being, and mood. For firsthand accounts of the positive impact of this initiative, you can watch Peter Edwards, Tom, and Lyn Jones share their experiences.

Five Essential Themes

The plan outlines five essential themes that underscore the commitment to individuals living with dementia, their families, and caregivers. These themes highlight how this commitment will be translated into action:

Preventing Well – This theme focuses on empowering individuals to take proactive measures to maintain their health and well-being, thereby reducing the risk of developing dementia.

Diagnosing Well – The plan emphasizes the importance of delivering a dementia diagnosis promptly and with empathy, ensuring that individuals receive the support they need during this challenging time.

Living Well – This theme centers on helping individuals come to terms with their diagnosis and equipping them with tools to effectively manage their condition, enhancing their overall quality of life.

Supporting Well – This aspect is dedicated to assisting people in living their lives to the fullest with dementia, fostering safe and accepting communities that provide necessary support.

Ending Life Well – The plan ensures that individuals living with dementia have the opportunity to pass away with dignity, in the place of their choosing, as they approach the end of life.

The progress of the plan will be overseen by both the Dementia Action Alliance and the Croydon Dementia Steering Group, which includes senior representatives from commissioning and provider organizations.

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Croydon Dementia Strategy

Health watch Croydon has presented the final report on Dementia Pathway Experiences in Croydon, which serves as a valuable input into shaping the Croydon Dementia Strategy. This report is the result of comprehensive surveys conducted in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Society, involving patients, carers, and friends/family.

The report highlights various critical issues raised by respondents, including concerns about the time taken for diagnosis, the quality of post-diagnosis support, the overall support and care needs, advance care planning, the availability of information services for both patients and carers, understanding the specific needs and preferences of those affected by dementia, as well as suggested improvements. Furthermore, there were concerns raised about transitioning into care homes and hospitals and the elements that contribute to creating a dementia-friendly environment in Croydon.

Based on the insights gathered, the report presents several recommendations, including enhancing communication and information dissemination, expediting the diagnosis process, improving care planning and reassessment procedures, increasing support for caregivers, better understanding and catering to the needs and preferences of those with dementia, and raising awareness about dementia-related matters.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.