Dementia in Rural Communities
There is a growing body of research around the challenges facing people with dementia and their carers who live in rural areas. Recent research carried out by Plymouth University (https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/news/rural-dementia-nil...) makes the following recommendations:
- Where possible farmers should plan ahead for the eventuality of ill health (including dementia) or retirement. This should include Lasting Powers of Attorney, succession planning and so on.
- There is a need for joined up thinking and working between statutory agencies, dementia support organisations and rural communities, with initiatives such as dementia friendly parishes.
- Farmers can be reluctant to ask for help, fearing a loss of privacy, yet they need help to network with each other. Mutual support and experience-sharing is a particularly valuable way for farmers who are reluctant to engage with formal agencies, to gain access to farming-specific help and information on living well with dementia. Allowing farmers to share experience with other farmers in other areas of the UK, for example, would provide that mutual support without having to share information with those close to home or on neighbouring farms.
- There is a need for all agencies working with farmers to undergo dementia training. Agencies working with farmers can become dementia friends.
- Lessons can be learnt from initiatives to combat farming stress. Main concern is for farmers and their families to recognise issues and seek support.
Rural Dementia Matters in Powys
Powys covers a quarter of Wales and is the most sparsely populated county in England and Wales, with just 26 persons per square kilometre in 2013 (Wales 149 persons per square kilometre).
There are also increased numbers of older people in Powys when compared to the rest of Wales with 13.5% aged 65 to 74, (Wales 10.7%) and 11.1% aged 75 and over, (Wales 8.8%).
(FIFTY FACTS ABOUT POWYS 2015 February 2015, A compendium of key statistics for Powys County Council Strategic Planning Department).
In order to work with this issue directly, Dementia Matters in Powys has initiated a discrete piece of project work called Rural Dementia Matters in Powys. We shall be looking to extend services and support in ways that address the findings raised in recent research. By adopting an outreach approach, and supported by the assistance of volunteers from the farming community, we will be seeking to support and further understand what adjustments need to be made to ensure that services extend to everyone, not just those who live in more populace areas.
For more information about the project, please contact Deborah Gerrard on 01597 821166 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further resources around dementia in rural communities please go to links below: