A ROADSHOW covering dementia has taken to the streets of Sunderland this week urging people not to Bottle it Up.

The roadshow has been organised by Sunderland City Council to coincide with  Dementia Awareness Week and this year the theme is encouraging people who might be worried about dementia to talk to someone about their concerns rather than bottling them up.

It comes just two weeks after the Alzheimer’s Society relaunched their national Dementia Friends campaign supported by Public Health England, which is aimed at highlighting the small things everyone can do to make a difference to someone living with dementia.

It is estimated that more than 3,400 people in Sunderland are living with dementia and this figure is set to rise to almost 4,000 by 2020.

Council Leader, Councillor Paul Watson, who chairs the city’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “One in three of us will develop dementia if we live past 65 and every one of us will know someone living with the disease.

“It can be really difficult to talk about. People might feel scared or confused or even ashamed. But if you’re seriously concerned that you or one of your loved ones has dementia it’s much better to talk to someone about it than to bury your head in the sand.  Then you can find out what you’re dealing with and start to do something about it.

“People with dementia can live well, and independently for many years with the help understanding and kindness of those around them.

“Here in Sunderland there’s a lot of help and support available for people with dementia. We have supported the building of two extra care housing schemes specifically for people with dementia and there are also some fantastic examples of work being carried out by partners, like the Essence Service run by Age UK Sunderland and Sunderland Carers Centre and the work Gentoo is doing around dementia.

“We’re also encouraging people to sign up to become a Dementia Friend and we hope the roadshow will help increase awareness as well as signposting people to local support services.”

The roadshow, which will be manned by public health staff and volunteers, will have lots of advice and information about dementia and the help and support available. It is visiting venues across the city between 10am and 3pm, including Wednesday 21 May, Asda, Washington; Thursday 22 May, Sunderland Royal Hospital; Friday 23 May, Co-op, Houghton.

Age UK Sunderland and Sunderland Carers Centre are also looking to set up an Essence service to help fill a gap in the support available for people who have just been diagnosed with the disease.

The service aims to provide an individual plan for people with dementia and their carers so they can continue to function in the mainstream for as long as possible and keep as much of the ‘essence’ of the individual as possible, reducing the need for hospital admissions and acute interventions. Essence service workers will support people to access the services and activities in the community and only provide specific support and activity if it does not already exist.

The service will operate from a base at the former Doxford Park library which will become the dementia hub for the city and a beacon of excellence in design and support offered.

Essence will also play a substantial supporting role in supporting the development and promotion of dementia friendly communities in Sunderland.

For more information about becoming a Dementia Friend visit: www.dementiafriends.org.uk

For more information on the Essence service contact AGEUK on [email protected] or check out their website www.ageuksunderland.org.uk