Islington Labour councillors have voted to work towards making Islington Council dementia-friendly at Full Council (7th December) this week.
An estimated 1,248 people living in Islington have dementia. As Islington’s population is predicted to increase and become older, dementia and demand for more dementia-friendly services is also likely to grow.
Islington’s dementia diagnosis rate, the number of people thought to have dementia compared with the number of people diagnosed with the condition by health partners, is the highest in London at 90 per cent. This means that more people who have dementia are being diagnosed and can therefore receive the support and advice they and their families need.
Cllr Janet Burgess, Executive Member for Health and Social Care, says: “I am pleased that, by becoming a dementia-friendly Council, we can further work towards raising awareness and understanding of dementia. It is equally important that people with dementia feel included and involved in their community.
“Islington Council is already working to support people affected by dementia and is exploring how it can work more closely with them, so Council policies work for them. We are also discussing with health partners how they can further improve Islington’s dementia diagnosis rate, so more people affected by the condition can receive the support they need.”
At Full Council, Islington Labour councillors voted to work towards raising awareness within the wider community, continue to run local risk reduction campaigns and make information about local dementia services as possible.
Cllr Osh Gantly, Islington Labour councillor for Highbury East and Mental Health Champion, says: “People with dementia are an important part of Islington and have a lot to contribute. Although having dementia can make people feel isolated and alone, they can still enjoy a good quality of life if they get the right diagnosis and the advice and support they need.
“Islington Council is committed to creating a borough where everyone can enjoy a good quality of life. The best prevention advice is ‘what’s good for your heart is good for your head’, so it is vital we continue to educate local people about the link between exercise, alcohol, smoking and diet to help them improve their long term health.”
There is a range of services in Islington that provide support and advice to people affected by dementia. The Council provides information and care support for people with dementia and their families and supports the Islington Carers Hub, which supports carers of people with dementia. It also funds more informal groups for people affected by dementia, such as Cecelia’s café, run by Alzheimer’s Society, to provide important support and regular contact for local people.
Linda O’Sullivan, Head of London Region at Alzheimer’s Society, says: “Dementia is the biggest health and social care crisis facing society today. Someone develops the condition every three minutes and too many are facing it alone.
“Many people with dementia tell us they feel isolated and let down by their communities. So it’s fantastic to see Islington council working hard to address this issue and become dementia-friendly.
“Dementia affects people, their carers and families in different ways but one thing seems universal: people don’t always get the support or understanding they deserve.
“With over 72,000 people living with dementia across London, we need every person, organisation and council to unite with us if we’re going to tackle the cruel stigma associated with dementia. We need everyone to become a Dementia Friend.”
More information on support for people affected by dementia and other mental health conditions can be found on the Council website.
(l-r) Cllr Janet Burgess, Executive Member for Health and Social Care, and Cllr Osh Gantly, Islington Labour Highbury East councillor and Mental Health Champion
Islington Labour councillors pledging to make Islington Council dementia-friendly