IF there’s one thing that annoys Derek Clegg, it is being told he “looks well”.

“How do people expect me to look?” says Derek. “Just because I have dementia doesn’t mean I’m going to look different.”

Derek was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2014. “Initially it was a shock,” he says. “But I decided: ‘I have to live with it and I’ll do the best I can’. I don’t let it stop me getting on with life.”

Derek is a member of Dementia Friendly Baildon, a dedicated group of people raising awareness of dementia in their community, and working towards making public places and services accessible and understanding to those with the condition. Over recent weeks Derek has been distributing leaflets to shops, GP surgeries and the local library, promoting a series of events organised by Dementia Friendly Baildon for Dementia Action Week, running from May 19-26.

On Saturday the group, in conjunction with Windhill Green Medical Centre Patients Participation Group, is holding an event called Let’s Talk About Dementia, for anyone worried about their memory, those who care for someone with dementia, and anyone else wanting to find out more. Taking place at Windhill Community Centre, from 12noon to 3pm, it includes stalls by organisations such as the Alzheimer’s Society and HALE, and speakers from Memory Tree and Equality Together. There will also be a slide presentation highlighting signs of dementia.

“We’ll be spreading the word about what do, there’ll be financial advice, and a chance for carers to link in with each other, “ says Carol Sadowyj. “We’ll also be promoting our dementia awareness sessions, which are open to the public, in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Society.”

Saturday’s event kickstarts a week-long display in Baildon Library, and, on Monday and Tuesday, an information stand at Baildon Co-op. “We hope people in other areas will be inspired to set up their own Dementia Friendly Group,” says Carol.

Dementia Friendly Baildon meets bi-monthly at Baildon Community Link. Chairman Michael Skelton wants more shops and businesses involved in the Dementia Friends movement. “We invited them to a meeting last November but only a handful came,” he says. “We did, however, have some sponsorship from BIG (business networking organisation Baildon Ignition Group) which funded our leaflets and banner.

“I know business people are busy, but dementia is something that affects most people in some way, and it’s important for communities to be aware of it. We would like to place a Dementia Friendly sticker in the windows of shops which can provide an action plan on making their premises Dementia Friendly.”

Districtwide, businesses and organisations, from hair salons to the Fire Service, are Dementia Friendly, training staff to be meet the needs of people with dementia. “It’s something we can all be, by doing something simple - even being patient in the Co-op queue behind someone struggling with their change,” says Michael, who is a Dementia Champion.

Derek says the message is getting through. “If you tell someone you have dementia, they can’t do enough to help,” he says. “People seem to know more about it. Buses and train companies are training staff. But there are still things, like self-service check-outs and changing areas in leisure centres, that are confusing. And sometimes people don’t know what to say. I don’t want to be told I ‘look well’. I just want people to act normally around me.”

Dementia Action Week builds on the the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends, the biggest-ever social action movement in dementia. Now 2.9 million members strong, it aims to transform the way we think, act and talk about the condition, tackling a lack of understanding that’s causing high rates of loneliness and social exclusion. Every three minutes someone in the UK develops dementia - yet despite almost all of us knowing someone affected, two-thirds of people with dementia say they’re lonely.

According to Alzheimer’s Society, 120,000 people who have dementia live alone - set to double in the next 20 years. In a recent survey by the charity, a third of people with dementia felt unable to spend time with friends and felt isolated from their community.

Alzheimer’s Society’s #AskUsAnything campaign, for Dementia Action Week, urges us to start a conversation. There are more than 5,500 people with dementia in Bradford. Paul Smithson, Services Manager for Alzheimer’s Society Bradford says: “Many people are worried about ‘saying the wrong thing’ to someone with dementia, yet a friendly face or listening ear can make the world of difference. Even in the later stages of dementia when having a conversation might become difficult, keeping in touch can bring happiness and comfort, especially as the ‘emotional memory’ remains after the memory of the visit may have gone.

“We all have a role to help create a dementia-friendly generation. There are currently almost 78,000 Dementia Friends in West Yorkshire. Alzheimer’s Society is determined to make sure no-one with dementia has to face a future alone. We are here to support anyone affected by dementia and it can start by finding an event near you this Dementia Action Week.”

Events include, on Sunday, Burley Dementia Action Group inviting people to tea and cake and to learn about dementia from guests including Wendy Mitchell, author of best-selling book Somebody I Used to Know.

There are information stalls at: Saturday: Dementia Friendly Keighley Summer Fete, Airedale Shopping Centre, 11am-3pm. Monday: St Luke’s Hospital; Bradford College (all day). Tuesday: FIT (Face It Together) group information, Kirkgate Centre, Shipley, 2-3.30pm. Wednesday: Bradford Royal Infirmary, 1-4pm; Denholme Mechanics Institute, 11am-12.30pm.

* Visit alzheimers.org.uk/DAW

* Visit dementiabaildon.co.uk or call 07535 660958.