Carers and people with dementia and their relatives have joined North Yorkshire County Council, the NHS and voluntary sector launch strategies to improve the lives of carers and those living with dementia.
At least 65,000 people are carers in North Yorkshire and the county also is home to 10,000 people living with dementia.
The North Yorkshire Health and Wellbeing Board worked with people to create strategies which take account of current services, local success stories and which identify future improvements.
“Bring Me Sunshine” is based on the experiences of people living with dementia, their carers and health and social care experts. The title for the strategy was suggested by a group in the County that organises singing for people with dementia – one of many examples of how, although living with dementia brings many challenges, it does not mean people have to stop enjoying life.
The strategy has been developed with the help of the county council and NHS’s dementia support service providers, Dementia Forward and Making Space, together with the Alzheimer’s Society. It involved consultation with over 1,300 people living with dementia and their carers.
“Bring Me Sunshine is an important document; it sets out the improvements we want to make together in North Yorkshire over the next five years,” said County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Public Health. “Most essential of all is spreading the message that it is possible to live well with dementia and that people living with dementia have a valuable role to play in their communities.
“We also want to share what works and to highlight where we can make improvements”.
The key themes and priorities of Bring Me Sunshine include:
- challenging the stigma associated with dementia and raising awareness about it
- the importance of early diagnosis
- ensuring consistent care and support
- seeing the person, not the dementia
- supporting people living with a learning disability and dementia
- the value and importance of carers support
- planning for the future and dying well.
The strategy can be downloaded from http://www.nypartnerships.org.uk/dementia
“North Yorkshire has a growing population of people with dementia and of people who are carers, particularly as the numbers of older people increase,” said County Councillor Michael Harrison, chair of the North Yorkshire Health and Wellbeing Board, “and it is therefore crucial that we, along with our partners, do all we can to ensure their wellbeing. These two strategies are based on people’s experiences - the result of careful and detailed consultation – and they describe what works now as well as clearly signposting future improvements.”
“Caring for Carers” North Yorkshire’s new carers strategy is aimed at supporting carers to both continue caring and to have a life of their own.
Three in five people will be a carer at some point in their lives and almost everyone will know a family member, friend or colleague who is currently a carer. The strategy brings together the insight and experience of North Yorkshire carers, combined with health and social care professionals. It focuses on priorities for improvement that will make a real and valuable difference to the lives of carers in the county.
The strategy’s key themes, principles and priorities are:
- improving identification of carers;
- improving information and advice;
- enabling carers to take a break;
- improving carers health and wellbeing;
- enhancing financial wellbeing; and
- involving carers as experts.
Over the next two years the County Council, the NHS and their partners will focus on a number of actions including:
• involving carers of all ages in developing services;
• working with employers to raise awareness of flexible working polices to help carers combine their caring role with paid employment;
• encouraging schools to participate in the Young Carers in Schools Award scheme;
• the Disabled Children and Young People’s Service will assess the needs of disabled children and their parent/carers to ensure they receive the right support.
The strategy can be downloaded from www.northyorks.gov.uk/strategies
Press contact: Richard Webb, Corporate Director of Health and Adult Services 01609 532139
Exec member: Cllr Michael Harrison (Con), 01423 536157
Note to editors;
For more information about the care services available please contact:
Making Space: 01723 371958 email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.makingspace.co.uk/in-your-community/north-yorkshire/
Carers of people with dementia can contact their local carers’ centre for advice, information and support or ring North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 0845 241 1307.
Picture shows: Cllr Caroline Dickinson (second from right) with partners from social care, health and the voluntary sector at the launch of the carers and dementia strategies