Wales

Plan to improve public travel for people with dementia

Teresa Davies
Image caption Teresa Davies said travelling can be stressful for people with dementia

Help to make using public transport easier for people with dementia and similar conditions is being sought.

Betsi Cadwaladr and the Welsh Government are running a small business research initiative to look for suggestions and solutions.

Teresa Davies of Ewloe, Flintshire, who has vascular dementia and Alzheimer's, said more information at bus stops and announcements on buses could help.

It is hoped this scheme will provide a solution to make travelling easier.

Ms Davies was diagnosed with Alzheimer's three years ago when she was 59.

She relies on public transport to get around and when she has hospital appointments, she needs to take two buses each way, which poses a number of difficulties.

She said: "I get very confused, agitated, anxious and just forgetful.

"There's nothing to say what bus is going to stop, there's no timetable - I get anxious if the bus is late because I don't know if I've missed it or what time it's due."

Image caption Keith Anglesea said people could always ask their bus driver to announce their stop if they struggle with their memory

Betsi Cadwaladr is behind the initiative as many of its patients use public transport for appointments and travelling for people with Alzheimer's, dementia and other conditions can be particularly stressful.

Chris Roberts, 55, from Rhuddlan, Denbighshire, was diagnosed with early onset vascular dementia and Alzheimer's five years ago and works as an advocate for people with dementia.

He said: "If we can get it right for dementia, it'll help so many other people too - people with brain injuries or mental health difficulties for example."

Keith Anglesea, general manager for Arriva buses, said the organisation works with disability groups and charities to see how it can change its way of working to make travelling easier.

He said 66 buses across north Wales now have "stop annunciation" meaning the next destination is announced over a public address system.

Sean Page, clinical lead for the project, said: "As a health board, we want to be doing all we can to support the development of innovative solutions to the challenges people with dementia face, helping them to, as Chris says, live better."

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