Organisations have signed up to a strategy which lays out plans to support people living with dementia and their families and communities.
The initiative has been developed by NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group and Northumberland County Council in partnership with health and social care providers.
A local action plan linked to the strategy has been developed, which includes raising public and professional awareness around dementia.
Coun Scott Dickinson, chairman of the Northumberland health and wellbeing board, said: “We want support to be consistent throughout the county, for communities to become dementia friendly and to help those living with dementia to live as well as they can in their local community which is familiar to them.
“While it’s very common, dementia is often not very well understood.”
“It is not just about memory loss but about changes in communication and reasoning that make every day living more difficult.
“People often don’t ask for help because there’s still a stigma attached. Or they think – wrongly – that the symptoms are a normal part of ageing, and that nothing can be done.
“To get across the message that people with dementia can be helped, we’re raising awareness and working with lots of different partners to create more dementia friendly communities.
“We are also working with a range of organisations to improve diagnosis rates and health and care services. We want people to feel confident to go to their GP and talk about any worries they may have about their memory.”
Resources are being re-focussed to help prevent dementia by encouraging healthy lifestyles and awareness of risk factors; encourage people to seek a timely diagnosis; and offer high quality support to people with dementia and those that care for them.
The strategy has been influenced by the feedback received from communities, carers and organisations working to support people with dementia.
Dr Frances Naylor, director for long term conditions, said: “We’re working with partners including Northumberland County Council and health and social care providers to improve the diagnosis and support for dementia in Northumberland.
“We’re also working with our GP practices to improve the diagnosis rates for dementia as we know that the earlier you can get a diagnosis, the sooner we can help people with dementia get the right treatment and support, and help those close to them to prepare and plan for the future.”