Ministers must do more to help dementia sufferers and their families, Mayor Dan Norris has said.
The intervention comes after the West of England’s directly elected Mayor hailed ‘invaluable’ Royal West of England Academy (RWA) programmes for locals living with the disease in the city.
RWA have been running their ‘Teatime Tours’ since May of last year, with dementia patients and their carers getting to take a look at new exhibitions and some of the 600-plus artworks and sculptures they currently have on display, followed by tea and cake – all served with a warm welcome.
The idea is to help patients in the city keep their minds stimulated, which doctors say is important, and provide a welcoming space for patients and their families and carers at the same time.
They hosted their sixth tour this year for a group of about 15 patients plus their carers, including Pat and Gavin Davis who are regulars after Gavin was diagnosed with dementia in 2019, and who Mr Norris met during the special tour.
Mayor Norris also learnt how this is just one of many activities RWA hosts to help dementia patients, and the wider community including their Work Experience Weeks for young people with learning disabilities, and Happy Mondays for children with autism and other high needs.
But Mr Norris says he wants more done to help dementia patients live independently, as he singled out governments for failing to deliver on pledges to act on the disorder. He made the point that this is vital as around 4,500 people are living with dementia in Bristol, but that number is projected to rise, due in part to the UK’s ageing population.
Mayor Dan Norris said: “Bravo to the Royal West of England Academy for all that they do to support Bristol’s dementia patients, and, vitally, their families and carers as well.
“Teatime Tours and other like projects are absolutely vital in terms of helping the some 4,500 people with dementia in this city to still be able to enjoy life in as similar way as possible to before their diagnosis, and to live well with dementia. That’s really important.
“But we cannot rely on the goodwill of the brilliant firms and organisations we have in the West of England. We must do more to help patients and their families, and that means a redoubling of efforts from central government to deliver on their pledges, and deliver for patients.”
The Labour Mayor has also joined calls for more people to seek support in getting a diagnosis. It comes after a recent survey found a third of people who notice symptoms of dementia in themselves or a loved one stay silent and don’t follow it up for more than a month.
He is urging anyone worried about themselves or someone they love to take the first step and contact Alzheimer’s Society for support at firstname.lastname@example.org.