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Heart health helps with fight against dementia
Thursday 24th August, 2017

Wigan Council and its partners are urging people to think that ‘what’s good for you heart is good for your head’.

The Heart of Wigan and Leigh, the borough’s flagship programme for improving the public’s health, has been encouraging people to take simple steps to look after their hearts since they launched in 2014 and is backed by health organisations including Wigan Clinical Commissioning Group, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust and Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles among others.

And now those same actions could help in preventing dementia later in life for some people. It comes as a report in The Lancet outlined steps that could be taken to reduce the risk of developing dementia for some people.

Among the steps that could make an impact on dementia include stopping smoking, reducing obesity, being more active and tackling pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.

Other issues that might impact on dementia is social isolation and through The Deal for Adult Social Care Wigan Council is also addressing this issue by connecting people into their community and encouraging them to reach out to others to reduce the isolation that may be felt for some people.

The report states that not all dementia cases are preventable, but Wigan Borough is actively working to improve outcomes for all people living with dementia and their families and carers. Through programmes such as Dementia Friends more than 8,400 people have received awareness sessions to help those with the condition. Dementia friendly communities has seen an increase in dementia friendly activities happening across the Borough and the Dementia Advisors and Carers Support service delivered by the Alzheimer’s Society is available to support people through their dementia journey.

And last year the borough was named Dementia Friendly Community of the Year in the town category at the prestigious Dementia Friendly Awards, hosted by The Alzheimer’s Society, which is also a partner for the borough’s dementia work.

Councillor Keith Cunliffe, cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “We have for a long time encouraged people to take their health into their own hands and through The Heart of Wigan taught people that simple measures can make a huge difference. We’re already seeing the benefits through improving life expectancy rates and falling numbers of people with cardiovascular conditions. Now this evidence shows that the wider work we are doing around social isolation along with The Heart of Wigan should help us to tackle some cases of dementia.”

The report is also backed by Greater Manchester’s dementia strategy and improvement programme - Dementia United.

Alistair Burns, professor of old age psychiatry at the University of Manchester and national clinical director for dementia for NHS England, said: “This sets the scene for a lot of evidence based care for people with dementia from prevention to ‘end of life care’. Greater Manchester’s dementia standards impart focus on prevention as well as highlighting there are opportunities to ‘live well’ by positively taking care of body and mind personally, supported by wider society, not solely the health and social care system.

“The use of technology and innovation also offers us the opportunity as a collective to make improvements and transform the lives of people affected by dementia. Everyone has an opportunity to make a difference personally in reducing risks of dementia as well as supporting those affected by dementia. Let’s learn and make improvements together to truly make a difference to those affected and potentially affected by dementia.”

To find out more about dementia support visit www.wigan.gov.uk/dementia

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