More than £350,000 over the next three years has been secured to fund a joint initiative involving Alzheimer Scotland, Aberdeenshire Community Health Partnership, Aberdeenshire Council and NHS Grampian, to help provide early post-diagnostic support for people with dementia.
The funding from Aberdeenshire Change Fund will be used to employ three new Alzheimer Scotland link workers who will be part of specialised teams working with people diagnosed with dementia in North, Central and South Aberdeenshire.
They will work with Aberdeenshire Council and NHS Grampian to develop systems and approaches to help people with dementia, live with and be better informed about, their illness. It is hoped this will help delay or avoid the need for them to have institutional or intensive care.
“This is designed to ensure improved quality of life for people with dementia and their carers.” according to the chairwoman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Social Work and Housing Committee, Councillor Karen Clark.
“The lack of early post-diagnostic support for people with dementia is seen as a significant barrier to them coping with the illness and being able to make long term decisions about their life,” she said.
As well as providing information, advice and support for people who are in the process of, or have been recently diagnosed with dementia, the link workers will also seek to promote a greater community understanding and awareness of the range of illnesses known as dementia.
Regional Manager of Alzheimer Scotland, Fiona Roberts, said: “People with dementia need the tools to become active participants in their own healthcare and be supported to maintain or recover control in their lives as much as possible at each stage of the illness.
“It is particularly important that this support should be provided immediately following diagnosis while the person with dementia has the capacity to make decisions and plan ahead.”
It is estimated around 4,000 people in Aberdeenshire have dementia.