Councillors experience dementia for a day

Edinburgh councillors “experienced” what it’s like to have dementia as part of a new campaign aimed at tackling the stigma surrounding the condition.

dementia cllrs

As well as trying on special glasses that make the wearer experience tunnel vision, 24 councillors signed up to be “dementia friends”, learned about local campaigns, and took part in a quiz.

Details of the new campaign are on the City of Edinburgh Council website and include a radio advert and a poster campaign for bus shelters, shops, pubs, clubs and pharmacies. It is aimed at tackling the stigma often associated with dementia and increasing overall awareness of the condition.

Devised in conjunction with Edinburgh residents who have dementia, and their relatives, the campaign is part of ongoing work by the City of Edinburgh Council, NHS Lothian and Alzheimer Scotland to make the capital a dementia friendly city.

Some 7,688 Edinburgh residents currently suffer from dementia, a figure which is set to increase by two thirds over the next two decades, according to recent research by the Alzheimer’s Society.

Stigma and lack of understanding are major barriers for people with dementia, according to 66 per cent of those who responded to a recent Alzheimer’s Society survey. Fewer than half of those asked felt they were part of the community, while some 35 per cent said they only left the house once a week or less.

Health, Social Care and Housing Convener, Councillor Ricky Henderson said: “Elected members asked for this training, which was really helpful in terms of raising awareness and understanding of dementia.

“With the numbers of people with dementia in Edinburgh continuing to rise, it’s important to address some of the myths surrounding it, which can lead to people feeling excluded from the community.”

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