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Gibraltar set to become ‘Dementia Friendly’

Dementia Friends Gibraltar will help create a community in which people living with dementia feel more understood and included in society. This was the message from chairperson of the Gibraltar Dementia and Alzheimer's Society Daphne Alcantara at the launch of Dementia Friendly on the Rock on Thursday.
No one should face dementia alone she told a packed hall at the Mediterranean Rowing Club which included Health Minister Neil Costa, Equality Minister Samantha Sacramento, Deputy Leader of the GSD Roy Clinton, health professionals, representatives from groups and association and private individuals.
The government, she said, had a vital role to play in improving support and care services for people living with dementia making sure everyone received the right care and support at the right time and right place.
"GP's and other health professionals must give information and advice about dementia as part of the Gibraltar Health Authority's healthcare programme and refer those for assessment if they need it. But they cannot do it alone," she insisted.
Mrs Alcantara said that becoming a “Dementia Friendly Gibraltar” would be an excellent way for workplaces, businesses and organisations to recognise and support people living with Dementia by recognising the symptoms and understanding customers or service users who may be having problems and help improve their day to day lives.
Launching the project Mrs Alcantara said GADS wanted as many people as possible to become Dementia Friendly and change the way we "think, act and talk" about Dementia in Gibraltar.
GADS initiative is backed by the GHA, and Health Minister Neil Costa, when addressing the room during the meeting, gave government's support and commitment to the project and to the society, paying tribute to the work they undertake behind the scenes.
The work carried out by GADS and civic society, he said, was representative of who we are as a community in taking care of each other. The Gibraltar Government he added was sensitive to the needs of this sector of the community.
Mr Costa said that everyone should be encouraging the idea that we should all be Dementia Friendly and be aware.
The evening concluded with a presentation by Philippa Tree from Alzheimer's Society Dementia Friends UK. She spoke of how the UK had structured the programme. Dementia Friends is an Alzheimer’s Society UK initiative which was launched in the UK in 2013 to give as many people an understanding of dementia and some of the actions we can all take to help those living with the condition.
It is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia and help tackle the stigma and lack of understanding that means many people with the condition experience loneliness and social exclusion.
Around the world there are 46.8m people living with Dementia - that is one in three people over 65 who live Dementia.
"This is a global challenge that we need to address," she said.
She called on businesses - banks, stores, etc. aside from individuals.
"Dementia Friends is really easy and can be what you want it to be and even as simple as thinking about the language you use - people are not suffering they are living with Dementia."
If you want to become part of Dementia Friendly visit the Gibraltar Alzheimer’s and Dementia Society. Tel: 56001422 Email:
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