Businesses and emergency services are rallying together to make Todmorden the country’s first dementia friendly town.
As part of Todmorden’s Town Council neighbourhood plan, proposals are being put in place to increase the number of park benches, provide training for staff in local businesses and emergency services are working with families to ensure that in an emergency, they know before they enter a property where the person is and how to get to that person.
Steph Booth, who initiated the idea, was inspired to start the dementia friendly campaign in Todmorden so she could help people with dementia and Alzheimers to ‘lead as normal life as possible’ after her husband Tony was diagnosed with Alzheimers ten years ago.
“It is only in the last 18 months that his condition has worsened to the point where I need support to look after him and keep him at home with me.
“When he first first diagnosed it was a dreadful shock but people in Todmorden have been brilliant in support us. He can still visit shops and talk to people.
“I know people understand his illness and will go that extra mile to look out for him. It made me realise that Todmorden is a perfect place to launch Dementia Friends and work towards a dementia friendly town.
“The Neighbouring Plan will mean that Todmorden will be committing to long term strategies around not only creating, but sustaining the town as dementia friendly.”
The Alzheimer’s Society are working alongside businesses and residents in Todmorden to help make the community more dementia friendly.
Richard Chesmond, services manager of the Alzheimer’s Society for Calderdale and Kirklees, said: “Alzheimer’s Society has been at the forefront of the creation of dementia-friendly communities. Towns, cities and villages across the country are working towards becoming dementia friendly, recognising the need to act and change in order to better support people with dementia.
“The Calderdale Dementia Action Alliance has recently been launched and our plans are to gradually raise awareness of dementia across the district including building dementia friendly communities in town such as Todmorden.”
Businesses, like Morrisons, will have a ‘dementia champion’ who will have been specially trained in how to approach people with dementia in the store.