Care Home Calls For More Dementia Friendly Communities

One Surrey based care home is calling for people to create more dementia friendly communities after new reports have revealed more than 800,000 people in the UK are now  living with the disease.

The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society is marking Dementia Awareness Week (19 – 24 May) by highlighting the need to promote greater knowledge and specialist activities to support those living with dementia, after seeing the positive effects the home’s ‘Dementia Friends’ Champion has had on residents.

Royal Alfred volunteer, Mrs Ellis received specialist training from the Alzheimer’s Society to become a Dementia Friends Champion last year and regularly helps in the home’s specialist dementia unit. She spends her time in one-to-one sessions with residents but also provides vital advice and guidance to family members. The training also equipped Mrs Ellis to spot the early signs of the disease which can prove invaluable in getting people onto the right course of treatment as early as possible.

On her role, Mrs Ellis, said: “Through becoming a dementia champion, I use the skills I have learnt to help support patients and their families and am able to pass knowledge gained to other volunteers at the home and in the wider community. With this disease set to affect one in every three people, it is vital to spread awareness of the symptoms and the care that is available.”

The care home, based in Banstead, provides specialist facilities for residents at its dementia annex, which opened in 2012, after the charity established 40 per cent of its residents were living with some form of the disease.

Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society Chief Executive, Commander Brian Boxhall-Hunt OBE said: “Dementia Awareness Week is hugely important not only to sufferers of the disease but also their loved ones. Highlighting the need for support, guidance and information is something we are passionate about here. We have witnessed first-hand the positive impact early diagnosis and dementia therapies can have on sufferers. We would encourage anyone working with elderly people to get involved in the Dementia Friends Champion scheme to help spread the word and offer support to those affected by this terrible disease.”

The home runs different activities for residents with dementia including games, reflexology and music therapy. These can prove vital with integration and offset the feelings of isolation so often experienced by sufferers. Earlier in the year residents also took part in a study to assist with medical research into the healing effects of music therapy for dementia sufferers.

A sensory garden has also been created in the grounds of Belvedere House supporting nostalgia therapies using smell relaxation designed to bring back happy memories for dementia sufferers.

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