A COMMUNITY has rallied to support a scheme to help people with dementia.

Businesses owners, workers and residents turned out in force to the launch of the Dementia Friendly Rossendale community initiative.

Held at Alder Grange High School, the group presented how they plan to tackle issues surrounding living with and caring for residents with dementia in their local community.

Supported by NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, the main focus of the initiative is to raise awareness of the devastating nature of the illness.

Local man Kevin Swain shared a moving first-hand account about his experiences of living with and caring for somebody with dementia.

Kevin’s wife of almost 52 years, Patricia, was diagnosed after suffering a mini stroke. He said: “She started to forget simple things like where she had put her purse or her key.

“She would say something then a few minutes later she would say the same thing again; then again and again.

“One night she served our evening meal straight out onto the worktops in the kitchen, not onto any plates.

“I believe that although it is tough to go on sometimes you can live well with dementia, particularly in the early stages.”

Dr Tom Mackenzie Rossendale’s clinical lead at NHS East Lancashire said: “A community initiative taking place here is really exciting. I have no doubt that this work will raise awareness of the condition.”

Current estimates indicate that there are around 1,100 people living with dementia in Rossendale and this figure is set to rise by nearly 20 per cent by 2020.

Brian Topping, chair of Dementia Friendly Rossendale, said: “This is a unique opportunity for our community to really step forward and show their support for people living with this condition.

“We firmly believe that it is possible to live well with dementia and much of that is to do with how the community responds A series of roadshows or community events will be held throughout the Valley.