During Dementia Awareness week, which runs from May 14 until May 20 2017, Kent County Council is urging the public to be more aware of the words they use when talking about those living with dementia and to become more dementia friendly.
In Kent, approximately 20,800 people aged over 65 live with dementia and these numbers are expected to rise each year. However, there is a common error that many make when they talk about those living with dementia and terms are used such as “dementia sufferer” which has a negative effect on these individuals.
KCC is working with the Kent Dementia Action Alliance to promote the use of the dementia words matter guidelines which have been produced by people living with dementia and DEEP (The Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project).
Graham Gibbens, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said:
“It is important the public understands that we need to be aware of the words we use when we talk about living with dementia.
“Dementia affects thousands of individuals across Kent and KCC works hard with partners to ensure that we support those individuals in a variety of different ways including support groups, counselling, coffee mornings etc.
“I urge the public to think about the way we speak about dementia and how we communicate these messages.”
Melvyn Brooks, aged 68 who lives with dementia and a member of the East Kent Forget Me Nots, said: “I do not suffer with dementia, I live with dementia. The word ‘sufferer’ is a horrendous word and massively impacts individuals like me.”
Linking in with the push for appropriate language and a community response, the Kent Dementia Action Alliance will also be promoting the ‘Working to Become Dementia Friendly’ recognition symbol which encourages businesses and organisations to think about how they can make small changes to better assist customers or members who may be living with dementia.
Also across the county, social events are taking place inviting those living with dementia to receive further support and community wardens will be raising awareness about doorstep criminals and scammers who target this vulnerable group.
To learn more about becoming dementia friendly, please visit the website www.dementiafriendlykent.org.uk/press-kdaa