It’s Dementia Friendly Awareness Week, and Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership took this opportunity to say thanks to the local businesses and organisations that have become dementia friendly premises and to the thousands of Fifers who have become dementia friends.

At the event, held at Fife Voluntary Action in Glenrothes, local business and organisations joined together to hear how their involvement in dementia awareness is making a difference in local communities. Gerald King, who is living with dementia shared his experience of being diagnosed at only 55 and the impact that this has had on him and his nearest and dearest. Anna May and Masie Dury also shared what it has been like for them losing their grandad, Papa Jack. Anna May talked about their changing roles over the years and Masie sang a song she wrote for her grandad.

“This has been very inspirational – to hear from those living with dementia is powerful. And seeing so many local businesses and organisations here today is testament to how people feel about dementia and how they want to help. Making our communities dementia friendly is a key priority and we will continue with the good work we have achieved to make this happen” added Councillor David Graham, Spokesperson, Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership.

Over the past six months, Ruth McCabe, Project Manager for Health and Social Care Partnership has been working tirelessly to raise awareness of dementia and reduce the stigma that surrounds it. To date over 150 businesses and organisations have become dementia friendly – and in many cases this has involved changing their environment to make it dementia friendly. 4,500 Fifers have done the dementia friendly training, learning about things to help make life easier for those living with dementia, and their families, friends and carers, in daily activities.

“I am really proud of what we have achieved. The support from Fifers and local business and organisations has been outstanding and the success of this initiative is down to working together. Over the next 18 months we hope to make all communities in Fife dementia friendly and I encourage more of the business community and individuals to get involved”, said Ruth.

There is over 6,000 people in Fife living with dementia and with a growing and aging population this figure will increase.

“Dementia affects one in three of us. We can all do our bit to ensure that those living with dementia can access the same facilities and services they have always used, ultimately making it easier for those living with dementia to stay independent, for as long as possible. Today’s ceremony has been very moving and humbling and thanks everyone involved,” said Michael Kellet, Director Health and Social Care Partnership.