Oakwood has been officially recognised as a dementia-friendly community by the Alzheimer’s Society since 2018. The ward is one of only 24 areas recognised as being dementia-friendly in the whole of the Midlands.

The status of dementia-friendly community is awarded to a city, town or village where people with dementia are understood, respected and supported.  It is also a community in which residents will be aware of and understand the condition, so that people with dementia can continue to live as independently as possible in the community they choose.

The community of Oakwood decided to work together to make sure no one living with dementia felt isolated. To gain its dementia-friendly status, representatives from Oakwood, alongside the community centre, local GP surgeries and businesses gathered to form a steering group and champion dementia in the area – in fact, they all worked to become Dementia Friends to find out more about how dementia affects a person.

Since gaining its dementia-friendly status, the community has set up the Forget Me Not café, which runs monthly at the Community Centre, giving guests and carers an important opportunity to socialise with games, crafts, singing bingo and more. The café works to raise awareness of the condition in the community, making Oakwood a welcoming place for those living with dementia.

Dementia-friendly areas help to support those affected by dementia to ensure they still feel like they are a part of their community. It is common for those with the condition to withdraw from their social life as understanding of dementia and how to interact with those living with it can be poor.

In order to gain dementia-friendly status, areas need to meet a set of criteria, including:

  • Providing a strong voice for people with dementia living in your communities.
  • Having a plan to raise awareness about dementia in key groups, organisations and businesses within the community.
  • Ensuring the right local structure is in place to maintain a sustainable dementia-friendly community.

The dementia steering group was able to rally support locally, and alongside community, voluntary and faith groups, worked to ensure Oakwood fit the dementia-friendly community criteria; conducting audits of different premises, and offering Dementia Friends training to locals.

Councillor Roy Webb, Cabinet Member for Adults Social Care and Housing said:

“It’s fantastic that Oakwood is working together to champion those with dementia and create more Dementia Friends. By having more people with a better understanding of this illness, we can continue to break down the barriers and misconceptions surrounding it, and help those who are living with the condition in Derby to reclaim their social identity.”

Elizabeth Wood, Chair of Oakwood Dementia Friendly Community said:

“We have been delighted with the enthusiasm and commitment shown by businesses and individuals that we approached, and there is an ever growing number of residents in the community becoming engaged and lending support to our projects.

“We hope we are raising the awareness of the challenges of living with dementia in our community and recognise that the job of being fully Dementia-friendly is never done – we are always working towards becoming more Dementia-friendly.”

To find out more about more about Oakwood’s Dementia-Friendly status, please visit the website.