Breakaway support network to combat rising tide of dementia

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A NEW breakaway dementia charity has formed in North Yorkshire – where cases are expected to rise by 68 per cent over the next 15 years – to help combat a spiralling crisis.

Dementia Forward has been established this month by seven trustees who have left the Alzheimer’s Society, saying they were becoming increasingly concerned at a lack of a local response in Yorkshire where more than 60,000 people are now estimated to be suffering from the disease - nearly 10 per cent of the whole national total.

North Yorkshire, Leeds and Sheffield are the local authority areas in the region with the highest estimated number of people with late onset dementia.

In Harrogate and Ripon, where the new support network has been set up, it is estimated nearly 3,000 people suffer from dementia.

Madeline Hall-Jackson, chair of the board of trustees of Dementia Forward, said she was inspired to set up the new charity after her husband Alan, a pioneer in the manufacture of fibre optics and a City of London Freeman, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

“Sometimes in life you have an overwhelming obligation to repay the help and support that has been given to you during a time of crisis,” she said.

“We were helped so much by the network of support we received during Alan’s illness, whether it was timely information, service awareness, or the wonderful friendships made. Local services can go a long way towards making people feel supported and more able to cope with their individual situations.”

Dementia Forward provides home visits, educational services, peer support groups and a local helpline, operating Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm, staffed by people who can answer local dementia-related questions and provide up-to-date local information and a link to support services.

To contact the helpline, call 01765601224.