‘I want a community that understands dementia’

Councillor Michelle Collins plans on making the South East more dementia friendly.
Councillor Michelle Collins plans on making the South East more dementia friendly.

South Elmsall and South Kirkby councillor Michelle Collins is determined to make the communities more dementia friendly.

Coun Collins, whose grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years ago, will run dementia awareness sessions to help people to understand what it is like to live with the condition.

She has trained to become a Dementia Friends Champion, and is encouraging others to make a positive difference to people living with dementia, by delivering information about the personal impact of dementia and what people can do to help.

Coun Collins said: “For me it’s a personal thing because my grandad has Alzheimer’s and you realise that people do not understand a lot about it.

“My aim is to create a more dementia friendly community which understands more about the behaviour and lifestyle of people with dementia.

“People understand the basics of the condition but do not always know what is going on in the minds of people living with dementia.”

She also wants to reduce the stigma around the condition and emphasise that people can live well in the community with the right support.

She said: “It’s not about people ‘suffering’ with dementia, it’s about people living with it. We are trying to get away from the stigma surrounding it as a lot of people think about dementia negatively.

“People having a better understanding of dementia will reduce that stigma and mean they can feel comfortable.”

The sessions will launch at The Grove, South Kirkby on Wednesday, September 30 from 6.30pm and Westfield Centre, South Elmsall on Friday, October 2 from 6.30pm.