More than 30 businesses in Mid and East Antrim have taken part in a training workshop aimed at helping to make Larne ‘dementia friendly’.
A ‘dementia friendly community’ is one in which people with dementia are understood, respected, supported and feel confident they can contribute to community life.
Being able to go shopping in a supportive environment means that people living with dementia are able to maintain their independence for longer.
Julie Morton, Dementia Friendly Communities Co-ordinator for Alzheimer’s Society, said: “I would like to thank Gerardine Mulvenna, Mary O’Boyle and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council who are enthusiastically working to support business representatives in Larne to become dementia friendly.
“All of the participating businesses have recognised that dementia is not just a health issue but rather that building a dementia friendly community is a priority for everyone.
“The response has been very positive and they have invested staff time to ensure they can continue to support valued customers.
“The sense of community and the support received from the local people of Larne is inspiring and I am excited for what is to come.”
The Community Plan for Mid and East Antrim, published last week, sets out a vision for the Borough that includes Health and Wellbeing as one of five priority themes.
In 2015, 19.5% of the population in Mid and East Antrim was aged 65 and over.
By 2030, it is projected that this figure will have increased to 21.9%, the second highest level in Northern Ireland.
Significant increases are projected in the population of those aged 85 and over during the next 15 years, which will have implications for the provision of many public services.
Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna is Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s representative on the Dementia Friendly Community steering group.
She said: “I am absolutely delighted this is happening.
“It has been a vision of mine for some time so I am overwhelmed with the amazing response from local businesses and organisations who recognise the importance of creating a dementia friendly community and are willing to help in any way they can.
“I would like to thank the members of the focus group who meet each month, my colleagues at Mid and East Antrim Council, Alzheimer’s Society, the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, Larne Traders Forum and Larne Rotary who have helped start the process of working to become dementia friendly in Larne.”
The next dementia training session will take place on May 3 at 6.00pm in Larne Town Hall. The Alzheimer’s Societycan be contacted on (028) 9038 7782.