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Wendy & Ivan at Garden Project for Dementia Clients

Anastasia Barnes, a senior occupational therapist at the Emerald Centre in Colchester, was the proud winner of the Cosyfeet OT Award 2018. The £1000 award helped to fund the creation of a sensory garden where dementia clients and their families spend quality time, gardening and relaxing together. Here she reports on the project.

We recently celebrated the official opening of a very special garden at the Emerald Centre. Clients and their families, supported by staff, worked very hard to create the sensory garden, which was officially opened by the Mayor of Colchester.

The Emerald Centre is part of the Essex Partnership University Trust. The centre houses services for people with a diagnosis of dementia. These services include initial memory assessments, consultant reviews, medication monitoring, crisis intervention assessments, home treatment, occupational therapy, psychological assessment / treatments and a 24-hour helpline. The centre also houses group therapies and activities, including cognitive stimulation therapy and a vascular wellbeing group.

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Dementia friends team at Teesside care home

DEMENTIA friends gathered at Teesside care home for training to support those with the condition.

Dementia champion and crime prevention officer at Cleveland Police, Peter Ridley facilitated the session at The Beeches Care Home, on Green Lane, Stockton on Tees.

There were more than a dozen attendees, including staff from the home, family of residents, members of the Carlton WI and others from the community.

WI member Ann Swinbank said: “I wanted to learn more as a family member has been showing dementia-like symptoms and I felt it would help if I knew how to assist them going forward.”

The Beeches Care Home manager, Jess Brown, met session facilitator Pete during their dementia friends training at the Dementia Hub in Thornaby.

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Forest Nursery Students with Dementia Sufferer

An innovative forest school and nursery based in South East Northumberland is branching out with a new partnership involving North East charity MIND Active, so that people with dementia can join in with the children's memory-building exercises.

Footprints on the Moon was established in 2015 by Annie Blight from Cramlington. As a child, she frequently cycled to Plessey Woods to play in the peaceful woodland surroundings while enjoying exciting adventures beneath the trees. It became Annie's mission to help children enjoy nature and learn from the forest, as she had done herself as a child. After running a range of activities at various outdoor locations in Northumberland, Annie's dream came true last year when she set up Footprints on the Moon's permanent base at Plessey Woods Country Park.

Annie says, "I chose the name 'Footprints on the Moon' as I believe that there are no limits to what our children can achieve. Using their imagination and creativity, they can reach the moon and beyond."

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Woman from RCH Care Homes finishing a dementia jigsaw

RCH Care Homes makes dementia commitment as part of Dementia Action Week

To mark Dementia Action Week (DAW), which ran from 20 to 26 May 2019, RCH Care Homes committed to creating 900 new Dementia Friends!

As part of RCH’s ongoing partnership with the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS), and to complement our dementia strategy, By Your Side; all 900 employees across our 10 care homes and support services will become ‘Dementia Friends’ over the coming months.

The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme aims to change the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition so supporting the initiative seemed a fitting action to commit to during DAW.

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Pupils with care home staff learning about dementia

SCHOOL children have been learning about dementia from visiting care home staff who look after those with the condition every day.

Ingleby Care Home activities coordinator Kirsty Walsh and unit manager Cassie McCloskey visited St Thérèse of Lisieux R C Primary School to talk to pupils.

Both the care home and school are based on Lamb Lane, Ingleby Barwick, near Middlesbrough, and have taken part in joint activities previously.

The school’s year five and six teachers contacted the home to ask if anyone could visit to explain the types of dementia and how it can affect people in different ways.

There was also an opportunity for the children to ask questions, which included “does everyone get dementia”, “is it only old people that develop it” and “can they still remember things”.

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Residents sat around a light projection table

Staff at MHA Langholme care home in Falmouth were left in awe after seeing first-hand the transformative effect that a motion-activated sensory projection had on residents living with dementia in the home.

With the goal of stimulating, engaging and relaxing the mind, this projection technology, which is manufactured in the UK, comes equipped with quizzes, music and themes that have been designed to prompt conversation, spark nostalgia and maintain memory. Its use of therapeutic scenes and sounds which derive from nature have been known to instantly improve a dementia resident’s sense of calm.

Through this OM Interactive motion-activated technology, residents can reach out to pop a bubble, grow a flower simply by touching it, and even dip their toes in the water as the tide rolls in – all without leaving the sense of security that their own room provides. This is made possible by the equipment’s portable and height-adjustable properties which are able to project coloured streams of light onto any table, bed or floor.

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James Thomas, left, discusses care home services with a client

James Thomas, QFP, Commercial Manager at d&t business planning, discusses the need for careful planning when extending care home services.

The expansion of care home services requires the mitigation of risk through analysis and proper planning both to protect the business and those it cares for long term.

Extending an existing facility by nature often requires significant investment and therefore, commercial backing.  Securing appropriate funding will be a key part of the successful expansion of services. Here, a balance needs to be struck between the need for borrowing and the income likely to be generated from providing care services.

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Animal therapy in care homes - a man in a wheelchair in the garden with a dog on his knee

Damon Culbert from Wild Science, provider of animal therapy in care homes across the UK, talks about the difference between short visits from animals and dedicated Animal Assisted Therapy.

Animals in care homes are a growing phenomenon attempting to improve the wellbeing of the elderly in long-term care. Many residential care providers have sung the praises of therapy dogs, cats, horses and even lizards in their ability to animate residents and stimulate social interaction. But what are the recorded benefits of animal therapy and should every care home invite animals in?

Not every encounter that seniors have with animals will qualify as animal therapy. Animal Assisted Therapy is defined as targeted therapy interventions which make use of an animal to achieve set goals. Examples in care homes might include having a resident walk a dog regularly in order to improve or maintain mobility functions long-term or games between animals and residents to encourage social interaction between residents experiencing heightened feelings of loneliness.

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Lacey Turner for Cupcake Day

Dust off your baking bowls and whip out your whisks, Alzheimer’s Society’s Cupcake Day is back on Thursday 13 June. Actress and Alzheimer’s Society supporter, Lacey Turner, is urging everyone to unite against dementia with their families, friends and colleagues, by baking or buying cupcakes to raise vital funds.

Being close to friends and colleagues affected by dementia, Lacey Turner is now supporting the cause, having taken part in a Cupcake Day tasting event last year. Speaking about supporting Cupcake Day, Lacey said:

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Penwortham man living with dementia

69-year-old John Holt who is living with dementia has been inspired to write a song about his experiences of the condition. The song ‘The Secret D’ has been released on iTunes with all proceeds going to Alzheimer’s Society. 

John, who lives in Penwortham, attends Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain in Penwortham, and is also a member of the Skylarks Community Choir. As a former musician in a brass band, John penned the lyrics and contacted ‘The Songwriting Charity’, set up by Nathan Timothy, who agreed to write the music and produce it.

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Danemore Tenterden

A major landmark in Ashford Borough Council's multi-million-pound modernisation plan for its sheltered housing schemes has seen the re-opening of the £7.5m Danemore scheme in Tenterden.

Located at Beechy Path and a short walk from the town centre, the new-look Danemore provides 34 homes for affordable rent for older people, together with four chalet bungalows which will be sold on the open market.

Modelled on the multi-award-winning Farrow Court scheme developed by the council in south Ashford, Danemore has 25 one bedroom and nine two-bedroom apartments, built to a high quality that are care ready.

"The first tenants have moved in and I'm delighted to say that we are already seeing a really happy community atmosphere being generated there," said Sharon Williams, Head of Housing at Ashford Borough Council.

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Happy Days Dementia Workshop Time To Chat Cards

At Happy Days Dementia Workshop, we are passionate about helping care teams enrich social care. We’ve spent many years visiting residential and dementia care homes, hospitals, care services and families. We observed and have since designed reminiscence materials to help people engage and prompt memories to bring about meaningful conversations and stories to share and enjoy.

When people see and experience our range of traditional games like Jacks, Beetle Drive or bespoke Snakes & Ladders with chat prompts, to vintage sweet shops, bus stops, seaside displays and 1950s rooms, I’m often asked where it all started. Well, it all started in Lancaster, studying for a masters degree where I became interested in the effect that prompting the long term memory can have. Unbeknown to me at the time, this was the beginning of my journey into helping care teams engage and enrich social care for elderly and people living with dementia.

Much has happened since then and here’s a peep into how Happy Days nostalgic materials and environment ideas can help

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Dementia Café support group

Parbold and Skelmersdale Alzheimer’s Society dementia cafes will become one new café support group for people with dementia starting on Wednesday 10 April at Skelmersdale library. The amalgamated Café will provide an opportunity for people with dementia and their carers to socialise and get much needed face to face support.

Dementia Cafés provide people with dementia and carers a platform to talk openly about living with dementia within a relaxed and informal environment. The group will also hear from a variety of guest speakers, including health and social care professionals and representatives from the local community, about topics and services relevant to them.

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Rita Newman - “Being part of this has honestly been the highlight of my life”

Rita Newman, who is a carer for her husband who lives with dementia, tells how a National Lottery funded arts project has helped her cope with loneliness

 

Rita Newman is originally from London but has lived in Mold, Flintshire for over forty years and has been attending Arts from the Armchair workshops since 2016.

 

The weekly creative sessions are for people with early onset memory loss and dementia and was founded in 2015 as a collaboration between Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Theatr Clwyd.

 

Arts from the Armchair works closely with the carers involved, who’s daily experiences can be lonely and both physically and emotionally tiring.

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