LET’S UNITE FOR DEMENTIA
Croydon’s communities are being encouraged to unite and take action to help improve the lives of people with dementia.
Croydon council and the borough’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) are supporting Dementia Awareness Week, between 14 and 20 May, by asking residents and their employees to sign-up to the Dementia Friends initiative at www.dementiafriends.org.uk. Signing up will help spread the message to those affected that help and support are on-hand.
“Becoming a Dementia Friend simply means finding out more about how dementia affects a person – and then, armed with this understanding, doing small, everyday things that help” said a council spokesman.
“For example, being patient in a shop queue, or spending time with someone you know who is living with dementia.
“This year’s awareness week, which is organised by the Alzheimer’s Society charity, is backed by a host of celebrities including comedian Jo Brand, Olympic champion James Cracknell, actress Meera Syal and former footballer Robbie Savage.
“They are encouraging everyone to come together to take action, raise awareness, offer help and understanding to improve care, and urgently ﬁnd a cure for the condition.
“Dementia is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer says the charity, and it is estimated that someone develops the illness every three minutes.
“A serious progressive disease, dementia can lead to memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or communication. “But not enough people are aware of the facts about dementia and this is leading to people with the condition or their carers, family and friends to face it alone.
“In the nine years to 2019, it is expected that Croydon will see a 21 per cent increase in people aged over 65, some of whom will experience social isolation, reduced independence and dementia. The onset of the disease can, however, begin at a much younger age.
“Eligible residents aged between 40 and 74 are entitled to a Free NHS Health Check, which can detect the early signs of a range of problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and dementia.
“Getting treatment early can help to better manage these and other problems” the spokesman added.
Rachel Flowers, Croydon’s director of public health, said: “Far too many people with dementia say they are living alone with the disease. “That’s why we’re urging Croydon residents to play their part during Dementia Awareness Week by signing up to become a Dementia Friend today.
“I signed up when my Dad was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago and it really helped me and my family and, most importantly, my Dad.
“Dementia Friends provides a great understanding about dementia and language that we can all use. “Even if you don’t become a Dementia Friend, we all need to become more aware about how best to support those who have dementia, as well as giving help to their close family and friends.”
Dr Tony Brzezicki, the CCG’s clinical chair, said: “People living with dementia often feel misunderstood, marginalised and isolated. It’s vital that we extend our efforts in Croydon to support them so that they’re not excluded from their communities.
“Every bit of help counts, no matter how small.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
LAMBETH BECOMES FIRST LONDON BOROUGH TO SIGN HEALTHY FOODS CHARTER
Lambeth council became the first signatory of the Declaration on Sugar Reduction and Healthier Food, after its cabinet approved signing the declaration.
The charter, supported by the food charity Sustain, aims to reduce the amount of sugar consumed and promote the consumption of healthier food in outlets under the council’s control.
A council spokesperson said: “Lambeth have now committed to taking action across six key areas: advertising and sponsorship, improving food provided in settings controlled by council, delivering healthier public events, reducing prominence of sugary drinks and promoting free drinking water, and raising public awareness of the benefits of healthier eating.
“Lambeth’s declaration leads the way among other local authorities in London, as it is the first to commit to taking measures at a local level to tackle what is a growing national issue.
“Alongside being a Food Flagship Borough and a member of Sustainable Food Cities, this declaration commits the council to take further action to promote a healthy lifestyle.”
Cllr Jim Dickson, Lambeth’s cabinet member for healthier and stronger communities, said: “This builds on the great work already done to promote healthy eating and tackle obesity in Lambeth on schemes like the Food Flagship Borough and our work with schools, which is already improving the health of people in the borough.
“We’re one of the only councils in the country to see a sustained fall in obesity for children leaving primary school.
“We are delighted that Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group are co-signatories to the declaration underpinning the commitment of the NHS to work in partnership to tackle obesity in Lambeth.
“But we are not complacent and we now want to take forward the commitments in the declaration – with a range of partners – to promote healthy eating and drinking for everyone in Lambeth.”
Sofia Parente, coordinator of the initiative at Sustain, said: “We all know how difficult it is to make the right choices when we are surrounded by unhealthy food, the wrong advertising messages and when sugary drinks are cheaper than water.
“I am delighted that Lambeth is doing everything they can to help their residents, workers and pupils eat healthier. “I hope other councils in London will now follow Lambeth’s example”.
You can find out more about the Declaration on Sugar Reduction and Healthier Food by visiting Sustain’s website. (Source: Lambeth council’s Love Lambeth website)
MOTORIST CAUGHT USING DEAD MOTHER’S BLUE BADGE PERMIT….
A Croydon man whose mother had died a year previously was caught using her blue-badge disabled motorist permit, and then told officers that, far from being dead, she was at home.
After failing to appear before Croydon magistrates the man was convicted in his absence, fined £500, and ordered to pay £325 costs and £50 victim surcharge.
The court heard that, on 27 September 2016 the man had attended Croydon council’s offices, hoping to be rehoused following eviction for non-payment of the rent at his previous address.
Displaying a blue-badge parking permit, he parked his Ford Capri in Fell Road. Enquiries revealed that his mother had died during the previous September, and a death certificate was obtained.
On a second visit to the council’s offices, he again parked his car – on this occasion a BMW – in Mint Walk, and again displayed his mother’s blue badge in order to avoid paying a parking fee.
When approached by a council investigation officer, the man claimed that it was “news to him” that his mother had died, and that she was ”at home, sitting on the sofa”.
In addition to failing to attend his court hearing, he failed to respond to two invitations to interviews with officers.
Cllr Hamida Ali, Croydon’s cabinet member for communities, safety and justice said: “This is an astonishing case in which, as well as illegally using his dead mother’s parking permit, he denies that she has died and is actually waiting for him at home.
“This is a flagrant breach of the law which not only sees him gaining personal advantage, but deprives someone who genuinely needs to be able to park in that location of the opportunity to do so.
“We have a good record of clamping down on the fraudulent use of blue badges, and intend to carry on bringing the perpetrators to book.”
…..WIDOW CAUGHT USING DEAD HUSBAND’S BLUE BADGE PERMIT
In the neighbouring borough of Bromley another four drivers have been convicted of Blue Badge misuse and ordered to pay fines totalling £1,530 including court costs and surcharges.
The latest convictions included a woman who displayed her husband’s Blue Badge which had been cancelled several weeks earlier due to his death.
In the other three cases motorists pleaded guilty to displaying a Blue Badge to benefit from the scheme’s parking concessions in the absence of the badge holder, whose whereabouts could not be established.
Cllr Colin Smith, Bromley’s executive councillor for environment, said: “Our officers are trained to spot fake or altered badges and can very quickly identify a cancelled badge.
“To avoid a fine and a criminal record, drivers should never risk displaying a Blue Badge when the holder is not present or nearby, or be tempted to display a cancelled badge.”
“I really would encourage any driver minded to try and cheat the system to think very carefully indeed before doing so.
“You might save yourself a few pounds here and there in the short term, but you will get caught, you will be prosecuted and you will then receive a criminal record and be left worrying about all manner of things in everyday life in terms of reputation, work and insurance, etc.”
“I ask you: “Is it really worth all that risk and hassle?”
(Sources: Croydon council / Bromley council press releases)