Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is working with a number of charities to raise awareness and improve services for people with dementia.
Training and information sessions have taken place across Larne involving businesses and community groups to see how they can provide support and friendship for people living with dementia and their families.
These are now being rolled out across Carrickfergus and Dementia NI are setting up a group there for people living with dementia in order to reach out to others living with the symptoms and support them in their local community.
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.
Dementia Friendly Towns/Villages can help people affected by dementia to feel that they can go shopping in a supportive environment and also take part in normal day to day activities like going out for a cup of coffee meaning they maintain their independence for longer.
The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Paul Reid, recently hosted a reception for charity representatives.
“I was very moved when I heard a Dementia NI member tell their story about being diagnosed at the launch of Council’s Community Plan,” Cllr. Reid said.
He added: “I wanted to personally thank the charities involved in helping start these important conversations and support systems across Mid and East Antrim. Council will support and empower our citizens to build stronger and sustainable communities as a result.”
Dementia NI’s John McErlane said: “We have a very important job to do in challenging the stigma. While I have dementia, I can still do things for myself and make decisions; I just need society to allow me the time to do it in my way.”
More than 20,000 people are currently living with dementia in Northern Ireland and this figure is expected to rise to 25,000 by 2021.
The future plan is to roll out this training throughout the Borough, connecting with more dementia groups in other towns and villages.