Dementia patients to get more help

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A NEW service to help dementia patients in the Harrogate district has been launched.

Dementia Forward, based in Ripon, is a local organisation which aims to provide support and help to people suffering from the disease.

Describing itself as a “here and now” initiative, it has launched a helpline and a befriending service and will also provide home visits from support workers.

The charity says that increased awareness of the illness has lead to earlier diagnosis – and that this, in turn, has put greater pressure on healthcare services.

It has led to an increase in the numbers of referrals into health and social care.

And with the current economic cuts biting, the charity said that demand for services which aid dementia sufferers is continually rising.

A spokesman for Dementia Forward said: “Together, the trustees, staff and volunteers create a dynamic organisation, which consists of people who have experienced dementia themselves, professionals from health and social care, local politicians and a host of enthusiastic supporters.”

The group has set up a helpline which will be the first point of call for people wanting to get in touch. The local line will be manned from Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm.

“With so many national organisations having removed this important local point of contact, we often know the frustration of being ‘just another caller’ even if the automated telephone answering system is designed to be reassuring,” the spokesman said.

“For people living with dementia a national service cannot replace the essential friendliness and local knowledge of someone who might shop in the same supermarket as you do.”

Dementia Forward will also be offering a befriending service which will offer patients the chance to take part in certain leisure activities and also provide some respite for their carer.

Other services will include home visits from a support worker, wellbeing activities, social events, and education programmes.

“Our philosphy is if we can improve the lives of those living with dementia in North Yorkshire, it will be one step nearer to meeting the national challenge set by the Government,” the spokesman said.

“It could be that actions can speak better than words.”

To find out more about Dementia Forward, visit www.dementiaforward.org.uk. The helpline number, which is available Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm, is 01765 601224.