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Andy Burnham and leading dementia charities visit University of Salford hub

Monday 21 May 2018

GREATER Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and charity bosses are visiting the University of Salford’s Dementia Hub to find out more about the work being done to help people with the condition live better lives.

The Mayor will visit the centre on Wednesday May 23 alongside leading figures from Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer’s Research UK and Dementia UK to meet people with dementia and their carers and to hear about research being carried out to make buildings and public spaces more dementia-friendly.

The hub, which opened last year, is committed to enhancing the lives of those living with dementia and has a unique approach, bringing together academics researching the condition with members of the local community.

It now provides around 90 activity sessions per month for people living with dementia and their carers – including everything from craft, gardening and music sessions to demonstrations of the latest dementia-friendly design and face-to-face discussions with researchers.

Dementia Action Week

The visit is part of a series of events marking Dementia Action Week, the Alzheimer Society’s annual awareness campaign taking place on May 21-27, led by the University’s Salford Institute For Dementia.

'Things beginning to change'

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “We won’t have a 21st century NHS until it supports people with dementia as well as it supports people with cancer. We are still some miles away from that, but things are beginning to change. Earlier this year the World Health Organization recognised Greater Manchester as the UK’s first age-friendly city-region, which shows that we are going in the right direction.    

Devolution gives Greater Manchester a unique opportunity to do things differently.

“Devolution gives Greater Manchester a unique opportunity to do things differently. We can chart a path to a new integrated health and social care service that is fit for purpose, and capable of meeting the needs of a rapidly growing older population. Research centres like this one are vital to the success of these ambitions and will see Greater Manchester become a hub for dementia research.”

Professor Anthea Innes, Director of the Salford Institute of Dementia, said: “People living with dementia are at the heart of everything we do here at the institute. They work closely with us to develop new research projects while we help them find out about new approaches to living with the condition.  

“As Andy Burnham develops a health and social care system in which services are based on the needs of the individual, we’re delighted that he is able to come to our Hub and see for himself the work being done to help people with dementia lead better lives. It’s also wonderful to see so many major national charities come to the University of Salford to mark Dementia Action Week.” 

Dementia-friendly country

Kathryn Smith, Chief Operating Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Someone in the UK develops dementia every three minutes and almost all of us know someone whose life has been affected - yet too many people face the condition alone, without adequate support.

It’s great to see the University of Salford putting people with dementia and their carers at the heart of what they do every day

“Everyone has a part to play in creating a dementia-friendly country, and simple actions like asking questions to understand dementia and offering support to those affected can have a big impact, so it’s great to see the University of Salford putting people with dementia and their carers at the heart of what they do every day. 

“This year, we’ve changed Dementia Awareness Week to Dementia Action Week because raising awareness will always be important, people affected by dementia have told us we must go further, and it’s only if we all unite and take action against dementia that change will happen for the thousands of people affected.”

Greatest medical challenge

Helen Davies, Head of Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Dementia is our greatest medical challenge, with 30,000 people living with the condition in Greater Manchester alone. Work happening in Greater Manchester is a shining example of the co-ordinated approach needed to tackle this devastating condition, and the Dementia Hub plays an important role in this.

“Innovative research taking place today can deliver life-changing treatments, preventions and improved diagnosis that could dramatically improve quality of life for people with dementia. 

“It’s vital that this research effort is embedded into the healthcare system to ensure that advances in science reach the people who need them quickly. Through Devolution, Greater Manchester has a unique opportunity to lead the way and become a test bed for much-needed new treatments and diagnostic tests for dementia.”