In October 2014 Brecon became the first community in Wales to be publicly recognised by Alzheimer's Society for its work towards becoming dementia-friendly.
Press Release: Thursday, 2 October 2014
Brecon is the first community in Wales to be publicly recognised by Alzheimer’s Society for their work towards becoming dementia-friendly. Following a pilot project, the town in Powys has successfully met criteria set out by the charity’s official recognition process which shows the community is taking steps to become dementia-friendly.
The dementia-friendly programme aims to improve inclusion and quality of life for people with dementia by bringing together individuals, groups, organisations and local businesses.
In Brecon, a pharmacist, police officers and mountain rescue staff are just a few of the members of the local community who are helping to make the town dementia-friendly.
Mark Jones, deputy team leader of Brecon Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) said: ‘Brecon Mountain Rescue Team is staffed by 45 men and women who volunteer their time to search for, and rescue, lost and injured people throughout mid, south and west Wales. The team is being called to an increasing number of searches for people who are living with dementia. We are conscious that when someone goes missing it is a very stressful time for the person who is lost and for their family members.
‘We have recently taken part in Dementia Friends awareness sessions and carried out a joint search and rescue exercise with members of Brecon and Hay Dementia Supportive Community Group so that our members can not only practice their search management and medical skills, but importantly make sure that the whole experience is as stress-free as possible.
‘Being trained to interact with a missing person who has dementia, and their family, is important to us if it means we can reduce the emotional impact on them during the search and rescue operation.’
As well as Brecon Mountain Rescue Team a number of other organisations have joined forces to make Brecon more supportive for people living with dementia. These include Brecon Medical Group Practice, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Dyfed Powys Police and Theatr Brycheiniog.
Director of Alzheimer’s Society in Wales Sue Phelps said: ‘A dementia-friendly community is a city, town or village where people with dementia are understood, respected, supported, and confident they can contribute to community life.
‘It is great to hear of the positive work happening in Brecon. They are setting a high standard, as are other communities across Wales, and I hope many more will follow.’
A report by Alzheimer's Society, ‘Building Dementia Friendly Communities: A priority for everyone’, revealed less than half of people living with dementia feel a part of the community (47%) and nearly three quarters (73%) of UK adults surveyed in a YouGov poll do not think society is geared up to deal with dementia making the work to make Brecon dementia-friendly even more valuable.
Rhiannon Davies, chair of the Brecon and Hay Dementia Supportive Community Group said: ‘We are thrilled to become the first community in Wales to receive this status. Our mission is to create a social movement that mobilises all sections of the community. We want to give a voice to people with dementia and their carers so their needs can be fully recognised and the appropriate support offered.
‘We've been putting the foundations in place over the past 12 months and the interest and support to-date has been fantastic. It's highlighted just how caring a community Brecon is - and now it's official.’