Dementia Friendly East Lothian
Dementia Friendly East Lothian is a community led and based initiative aimed at making communities across East Lothian great places to live, visit and work in for people living with or caring for people with dementia. There are now eight communities across East Lothian actively asking 'what's it like to live here if you have dementia' and asking what they personally can do to make a difference.
Every community does Dementia Friendly in different ways, but community ownership and leadership is what makes DFEL work. Individuals, Day Centres, community centres, local care providers, community councils, churches, care homes, schools, sheltered housing, libraries and museums are all involved in changing their communities through the initiative. They focus on raising awareness and understanding of dementia; building networks of local champions; connecting with people of all ages across the community who are affected by dementia in some way and helping ensure that people with dementia in the community have a voice and are respected, valued and included members.
DFEL has had great support from a range of agencies, including Strive (the third sector body), Alzheimer's Scotland and East Lothian Council. The local press have been really supportive helping to spread the word and raise awareness of what each community is trying to do. DFEL has has undertaken surveys asking communities what help and support they need to make their aspirations for dementia friendly a reality. They have also engaged with local organisations to help get the voice of people with dementia and carers more clearly heard and listened to.