The Scottish Highlands are to become dementia friendly thanks to a funding boost of £225,000 from the Life Changes Trust.
The project is a partnership between Dementia Friendly Communities (DFC) Helmsdale, Age Scotland and NHS Highland Public Health, and will be based on a dementia inclusive model already developed and used by DFC Helmsdale.
The Helmsdale model ensures that people with dementia and their families are included in their community, and that local activities exist so that they can continue to enjoy things that are meaningful to them, for as long as they wish to. It also provides services such as ‘Dinner To Your Door’, Men’s Sheds and ‘Bridge Over Troubled Waters’ which provides support for carers.
The £225,000 funding will be used to roll out a model and toolkit based on the experience of DFC Helmsdale to 8 other rural communities across the Highland area, starting with two pilot sites - one in Appin in the West Highlands and the other in Milton, in Easter Ross.
Keith Robson, Chief Executive of Age Scotland said: "Age Scotland has worked for many years to ensure older people living in rural areas are not disadvantaged in the provision of key services, and so we are delighted to be part of a project which will ensure people with dementia in rural Highland communities have better access to the support they need. People can live well with dementia if they live in communities which are supportive and dementia aware, and this project will roll out a proven model to establish more dementia friendly communities in the Highlands."
Cathy Steer, Head of Health Improvement, NHS Highland said: This is a fantastic boost for the Highlands. Dementia represents a major public health challenge and with an aging population, it is predicted that the number of people with a diagnosis of dementia in Scotland will increase markedly. This project is a great opportunity to help people with dementia and their families feel included in community life and also an opportunity to raise awareness and to make sure that people with dementia feel engaged and valued.”