Supporting the older generation

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

When initially diagnosed, people with dementia and their family carers often withdraw from their normal social activities and quickly slip into isolation - this is particularly true in our very rural community in Wiltshire. This can be attributed to a devastating loss of confidence, communication problems, loss of orientation skills, withdrawal of driving license, poor community transport links and lack of funds.

To improve the lives of people living with the effects of dementia, we offer a portfolio of services including Day Care, Home and Community Support and a wide range of Community Activities, delivered on peoples' doorsteps. We charge a small fee for Day Care and Home Support (and these services are supported by statutory funding), however, our Community Activities are completely free to use and require support through rigorous fundraising.

Community Services currently include:
4 x Singing for the Brain (weekly)
2 x Movement for the Mind (fortnightly)
2 x Art Group (fortnightly)
1 x Wildlife Group (fortnightly)
1 x 'Tracks of my years' reminiscence group (weekly)
1 x Experiential Discussion Group for the newly diagnosed people with dementia (fortnightly) and
3 x Alzheimer's Cafes (monthly).
Each group is delivered in a different neighbourhood, aimed to provide easy access to as many people as possible. They attract a high and increasing membership (with on average 300 places taken up every month), we are hoping to expand the offer by additional Singing for the Brain, Movement for the Mind and Art Groups to bring more services closer to where they are required.

What sets our approach apart is the inclusion of the family-carer in the activity. Our experience shows the benefit of guided, meaningful activity attended by a person with dementia together with their carer. Carers are often close family members, (husbands, wives, children) and the relationship with the person with dementia has changed significantly due to the illness. People feel a sense of bereavement and the loss of someone significant in their lives because of the changes in personality, ability and relationship. Isolation, particularly in rural Wiltshire is also a major factor. To be able to once again engage in meaningful activity together with that significant person and to explore some of the individual issues through shared activity can indeed restore lost connections and discover long dormant ones. New friendships and support networks are forged and the family-carer is better equipped to support their loved one to live well with dementia and remain in the family home for longer.

Externalising and exhibiting the work produced by some of the groups brings the issue of living with dementia into the focus of the local community and helps us in our work to create dementia friendly communities and reduce stigma.

Groups are heavily supported by volunteers. We also engage highly trained teachers/instructors and at least one facilitator, employed by the organisation, to ensure continuity. Groups are also attended by support staff from other areas of our organisation (specialist Dementia Advisers, Care Coordinators) to offer in-depth advice.

Activities are based in the heart of communities in accessible venues with good transport links (village halls, arts or sports centres). Some volunteer transport solutions are also available - though more would be of benefit.

Including all overheads such as room hire, staff cost, refreshments, travel and equipment, the entire Community Activity offer for 2016/17 runs at a deficit of £38,387. An Aviva contribution of £25,000 would significantly reduce our fundraising target and allow on average 300 people each month to attend activities and to access vital social support, to lessen isolation, to restore confidence and family relations, and facilitate a live well lived with dementia.

Project Video

Alzheimer's Support

Moment of Pride

To observe the changes people make to their lives once they regain a good level of confidence and resume active participation in their community. A participant comment: I am very lonely. This has made me more confident. It took me a while to get involved. Good to be able to share experiences.

Location: Wiltshire, United Kingdom