Latest phase of #STILLME dementia campaign launched

Monday, 4 September 2017 – Nursing
Latest phase of #STILLME dementia campaign launched

The latest phase of the dementia campaign #STILLME will be launched today to raise awareness of the signs of dementia, encourage anyone experiencing any of these signs to seek help, and reduce stigma and fear about the condition.

The campaign features three local people, Evelyn, Danny and Martin, who are living with a dementia, along with family and friends, talking about how the condition affects them and the benefits of an early diagnosis. It shows how all three individuals are still themselves, living well, and pursuing interests and activities, with the support of carers, family and friends.

The campaign, which will include TV, radio, outdoor, press, online and social advertising, runs from 4 September until the end of December 2017. To support the campaign a leaflet has been developed to raise awareness of the 10 common signs of dementia, which will be inserted into various newspapers, as well as being distributed to health service facilities and community organisations.

Eleanor Ross, Nurse Consultant at Public Health Agency (PHA), said: “Dementia can happen to anyone and with an ageing population it is important that we look at how we can raise awareness about the condition and consider how we as a community respond to it.

“Often people with dementia feel isolated and alone. People can also find it difficult to talk about it when they think that they, or someone close to them, may have dementia. However, we believe that life doesn't end when dementia begins – Evelyn, Danny and Martin are proof of this and we hope that by showing people who are living well with a dementia it will encourage others to speak up and ask for help.

“We are encouraging people to open up about worries they might have about their memory early and to seek help as soon as possible.

“By talking openly about dementia and its impact on daily life, people with dementia, family members and carers can begin to access the practical help and support available. A diagnosis allows people to receive treatment and care to enable them to live independent and fulfilling lives. Early diagnosis and support also enable people to plan for the future and to make their own decisions about their care.”

Seamus McErlean, Commissioning Lead for Older People and Adult Services at the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB), said: “Often people are reluctant to seek help with memory problems as they feel that nothing can be done. However, recent investments in dementia services are making improvements to the care and support that people with dementia and their carers can expect to receive. For example, the Delivering Social Change Dementia Signature Project has enabled organisations from across the statutory, voluntary and independent health and social care sectors to work with local businesses to provide information and training about dementia. Innovative and flexible carer support schemes have allowed carers to be supported to continue to provide care to their loved ones in their own homes for as long as it is safe to do so and in the interests of everyone concerned.

“The project has also provided funding for 10 Dementia Navigators who are based across the five HSC Trusts to signpost people living with a dementia on to services that can offer help and support. It has also provided bespoke Dementia Champion training to over 260 staff from HSC and the independent sector, as well as specialist training on delirium, cognitive assessment and rehabilitation to improve services for people living with dementia. It is vital therefore that we encourage people to open up and have the confidence to ask for help.” 

For more information on dementia see www.nidirect.gov.uk/dementia

If you, or a member of your family, have concerns about dementia, visit www.alzheimers.org.uk  or call the Alzheimer's Society Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 which can provide information, support, guidance and signposting to other appropriate organisations.

Notes to the editor

In 2014, the Delivering Social Change Dementia Signature Project (DSCDSP) was launched by the Department of the Executive to transform the commissioning, design and delivery of dementia services for people in Northern Ireland and to improve the quality of care and support for people living with dementia. The HSCB and the PHA have been tasked with jointly taking forward this work.