Much misunderstanding and stigma still surrounds dementia. Which is why events like National Dementia Carers’ Day and World Alzheimer’s Month are so important. Here at Care UK, we work hard every day to raise awareness of dementia, and make our communities more supportive places for people living with dementia, and their families.
Support for families and communities
Caring for a loved one who is experiencing memory loss, or has a dementia diagnosis, can be an isolating and stressful experience. That’s why many Care UK homes run a host of free information sessions and events for local family carers and members of the wider community who are looking for advice, information and support.
Below are just some of the regular events hosted by our homes for members of the community:
- The monthly dementia café at Buchanan Court in Harrow, takes place on the last Wednesday of the month
- The team at Winchcombe Place in Newbury runs different weekly and monthly cafes, support groups and information sessions for family carers and their loved ones who are living with dementia.
- Each month, Davers Court, in Bury St Edmunds, holds a separate dementia café and a carers’ café for carers in the local community. These groups offer opportunities for older people to get together and do meaningful activities while their carers learn more about dementia and meet likeminded people.
- Each fortnight the team at Ambleside in Stratford-upon-Avon runs a carers’ support café, offering support and advice for local family carers and their loved ones.
- Kingsleigh, in Woking, hosts a dementia café on the last Wednesday of every month
Opening our doors
At Priors House in Leamington Spa local family carers and their loved ones are welcome to visit the home’s café whenever they wish, free of charge. The café is offered as a safe space where people living with dementia and their relatives can relax, talk to likeminded people and get any support they need. The home also launched its monthly sporting reminiscence café this month, an event which is led by Leamington Football club
At Perry Manor, our home in Worcester, relatives are even able to do the same dementia training as members of the home team, which is provided by the home’s Dementia Champions. With a deeper understanding of their loved one’s journey, relatives feel more in control as their loved one’s condition develops.
What are Dementia Champions?
They’re Care UK colleagues who have committed to develop their knowledge and skills in dementia so that they can provide advice, information and training to colleagues and relatives. Each Care UK home has at least one Dementia Champion. The Dementia Champions undertake advanced training with our academic partner, the Association for Dementia Studies at Worcester University, which they then cascade through their care home. With their help, we’re bringing about a step change in dementia care across our organisation.
Liliana Onica, from Charlotte House in Isleworth, won Care UK’s RCS Stars Dementia Champion of the Year last year. Liliana has brought about an enhanced focus on meaningful activity at Charlotte House, as well as fresh changes to the home environment which have benefitted residents and their families alike. In addition, a greater focus on completing and using residents’ life story books has helped colleagues to create more meaningful interactions for residents.
Providing ‘outstanding’ dementia care
At Appleby House in Epsom, Dementia Champions, Vicki and Jacqui, deliver training and ad hoc roleplay sessions to support colleagues. Relatives also do the training. Vicki and Jacqui show how people can lose a memory but be left with the emotional memory of that loss – demonstrating how a resident can become tearful, frustrated or ‘stuck’ in an emotion. While the home was already excellent in many respects, the work of the Dementia Champions enabled Appleby House to achieve an ‘outstanding’ overall rating in April this year, with ‘outstanding’ ratings for effective, caring, responsive and well-led.