Dementia Supportive Communities

Making Wales a dementia supportive nation by building and promoting dementia supportive communities

In 2013 there was an estimated 45,529 people living with dementia in Wales, of those people, only 17,661 had received a formal diagnosis. By 2021 it is estimated that over 55,000 people in Wales will have dementia. Developing dementia supportive communities is crucial to the wellbeing of older people, especially the thousands of people living with dementia, regardless of official diagnosis, and the people around them that are also affected.

People affected by dementia talk about the everyday challenges they face in living well with dementia. This can include difficulty using technology, getting appropriate service in shops, banks and post offices, using transport, going on holiday and maintaining social contact and hobbies. Although help from health and care services is vitally important, making it possible for people affected by dementia to live well will require help from people and organisations across society.

A dementia supportive community is any community that shows a high level of public awareness and understanding of dementia (for example, a local or national organisation such as a shop, bank or corporation, or a village, town or city). Such communities are more inclusive of people with dementia, and improve their ability to remain independent and have voice, choice and control over their lives. Creating dementia supportive communities requires a social movement: one that mobilises all sections of society to act, respond and give their time, inspired by the ambition to make their community more dementia friendly.

As emphasised by the Welsh Government’s National Dementia Vision for Wales, people who receive an early diagnosis of dementia and are given access to appropriate information, support and care, are able to live well with dementia. The Dementia Supportive Communities network will work to facilitate this and encourage the development of communities and have the capacity to support people affected by dementia so they can enjoy the best possible quality of life.

The network recognises that it is not only the individual who is affected by dementia, it also impacts on their family, friends, colleagues and carers. Ageing Well in Wales therefore uses the term ‘people affected by dementia’ to recognise the wider effects of dementia beyond the individual.