With 47.5 million people worldwide affected by dementia in 2015 and predictions from The World Health Organisation that this will rise to 135.5 million by 2050, a number of organisations in Yorkshire are looking for innovative ways of tackling the challenge of the ageing population.
Many of these businesses came together at a seminar on 14 June hosted by Leeds law firm Clarion to discuss some of the key issues and debate the possibility of creating a centre of excellence in the region that can help people live well with dementia.
The event featured a diverse selection of speakers who provided insights into the topic and an opportunity to bring people together and forge links to enhance one another’s work. As well as considering the global picture, key themes included ways of reducing the risk of dementia; how Yorkshire is dealing with the issue and whether it could become a centre of excellence; how technology can help; ways in which the private and public sectors can work together.
Speakers included Julian Hartley, chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals; Professor Graham Stokes, global director of Dementia Care, BUPA; Kevin Alderson, UK sales & marketing director, Tunstall; Gary Shuckford, healthcare entrepreneur; Gail Mountain, Professor of Applied Dementia Research, University of Bradford; and Sally-Anne Greenfield, chief executive of Leeds Community Foundation.
Clare King, senior associate in Clarion’s private client team, commented: “The growing care and support needs of people who live with dementia is a focus for many organisations in Yorkshire and we are fortunate to have significant expertise in the region with innovative healthcare businesses and organisations here focussing on the issue of the ageing population. Some key themes came out of the seminar, notably the huge potential of new technology in alleviating some of the problems faced by those with dementia and improving their quality of life, as well as the need for a more co-ordinated approach to tackling the issue and the fact that we can all play a part in creating more dementia-inclusive communities.
“In the private client team, we have first hand experience on a daily basis as we protect the interests of many clients with mental capacity issues, we find that our knowledge of the sector is frequently called on by our colleagues in other teams that are working with businesses who are meeting the needs of people with dementia is a huge variety of ways.
“Leeds is already a leading city in terms of being dementia friendly – Rothwell has become the city’s first dementia friendly community and its success is now inspiring other communities across the city. Our healthcare event was an opportunity to harness all this positivity by creating a forum to drive a way of dealing with the issues.”