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New specialist advisor to help people with dementia

Dementia sufferers and their families are to get their very own specialist ‘dementia advisor’, thanks to a two-year pilot project announced by the Department of Health.

Warwickshire County Council is one of 22 authorities selected nationally, and one of two regionally, to take part in the pilot scheme. The scheme will run in North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth, all of which have areas of deprivation.

In North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth there are currently 2,060 people with dementia and this figure is expected to rise to 3,370 by 2025. This includes young adults with the early onset of dementia as well as a high proportion of older people with the condition.

The project, which will make Warwickshire a Department of Health ‘demonstrator site’, aims to give better support and information to dementia sufferers and their families. The specialist dementia advisor will act as their champion to ensure that everyone affected by the condition gets a personalised plan to improve access to - and choice of - care, support and advice.  The Warwickshire project will also involve a social networking website to allow people with dementia to interact with others facing similar challenges.

Dr Graeme Betts, Strategic Director for Adult, Health and Community Services at Warwickshire County Council, said: “We know that people affected by dementia have not always had the opportunities and support to keep the lifestyle they enjoy and preserve relationships with family, friends, colleagues and employers. This pilot project provides an exciting opportunity to transform people’s lives so that those living with the condition, and their families, get the personalised support and services they need.

“We competed against strong opposition during the bidding process and I would like to thank our staff and partners for all their hard work and support.”

Cllr Jose Compton, Dementia Champion for Warwickshire and Chair of the Living Well with Dementia in Warwickshire Task Group, said: “Warwickshire is committed to supporting people with dementia and I am delighted that the County Council has been selected to pilot the scheme. The project will allow us to build on the support we already give to people affected by dementia and comes at an opportune moment as we work on a ‘Living Well with Dementia’ strategy for Warwickshire.”

The dementia advisor will be appointed in autumn and the project will run for two years. Warwickshire will receive around £65,000 in the first year and £142,000 the following year.

Partners in the project include Warwickshire County Council Adult Health and Community Services, Warwickshire PCT, Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust and the Warwickshire branch of the Alzheimer’s Society (who will also support three existing user and carer support groups including a black and minority ethnic specialist group).

To keep up to date with the National Dementia Strategy and what is happening in Warwickshire, visit http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/mentalhealth