IMAGINE this terrifying scenario. You live on your own, you have been in hospital for a short period and are being discharged. A taxi is arranged to take you home.

You are picked up, you give the address to the taxi driver and are duly dropped off at your house.

But when you put your key in the door it doesn’t work, the person who comes to the door doesn’t know you and tells you it isn’t where you live. You haven’t a clue what to do next.

And yes, you don’t live there. It was your home 40 years ago. You gave the wrong address to the taxi driver. You have dementia.

Luckily, the person who answered the door understood what had happened. A quick call by the dementia friendly householder to the hospital and you were shortly on your way to the safety of your true home.

Also, the taxi firm that picked you up has introduced a policy whereby all its drivers call the hospital before the journey to check the address so it never leaves an elderly customer in a vulnerable situation again.

Such scenarios are not uncommon and were among the stories shared at the round table discussion event held by the Alzheimer’s Society in Northallerton’s Forum last Friday and attended by health and care professionals, the emergency services and others with an interest in this growing problem.

In my opening remarks at the Forum I explained how that there were 3,000 people diagnosed with dementia locally and 850,000 nationwide – and those figures are expected to double in the next couple of decades. At present there is no cure. Those statistics could include you – or me.

The greatest burden in coping with dementia falls on those who suffer, their families and carers and not the NHS.

And that’s why we agreed at Friday’s event that we need to have more people trained to be dementia friendly and we need to have dementia friendly communities to avoid situations like the one I have just outlined.

We are lucky in North Yorkshire to have extraordinarily strong and supportive communities. That community spirit is the best tool we have against dementia and we must make sure we harness it. We can all make a difference

I want every market town in the Richmond constituency to be dementia friendly and I want as many individuals as possible to take the short 45-minute training session to become a dementia friend. It’s an easy way to understand how dementia affects the behaviour of people with the condition and show how you can help to make their lives just a little bit easier.

I’ll be working with the Alzheimer’s Society locally to make that happen in the coming months.

THIS week I announced four events around the constituency aimed at giving people the chance to ask me questions about the forthcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.

My views on this are well known – I think our country would be better off if we left – but I will endeavour to answer questions as even-handedly as I can.

The details of the four events are published in the advertisement on page 11 of this issue of the D&S. Admission is free but if you wish to reserve a seat I urge you to contact my office to do so.