Independent sector health and social care provider Care UK has announced a partnership with Dementia Adventure to deliver a joint programme of free events, which will provide advice and support for around 800 family carers over the next 12 months.
The announcement follows the success of several joint projects between Care UK and Dementia Adventure over recent years, the first being a Home Outdoors training programme for the care team at Care UK’s Tall Trees care home in Colchester.
Led by Neil Mapes, director of Dementia Adventure, the training consisted of three day-long sessions to help home manager, Katherine Foley, and her colleagues gain the skills and confidence needed to organise trips out so that people living with dementia have a regular and positive engagement with nature and the outdoors.
Following the success of this formative session, Care UK ran a pilot of 10 free advice-led events at selected care homes across the UK, which were aimed at family carers and delivered by Dementia Adventure. The pilot reached more than 300 people and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees. Plans have now been put in place to expand the programme.
Maizie Mears-Owen, head of dementia at Care UK, explained: “The events which took place during the pilot were evaluated according to the feedback we received, and were considered to be effective, inspiring and practical. We therefore took the decision to continue to work with Dementia Adventure on a far more wide-reaching events programme for the next 12 months.
“Dementia Adventure is an incredibly exciting organisation which really does make a positive difference to the lives of carers and people living with dementia. By working together we can continue to empower those affected by the condition, while also supporting people living with dementia to remain connected and lead active and fulfilled lives.”
The first Dementia Adventure event took place at Larkland House care home in Ascot on Wednesday 5 November. A total of 25 events are taking place at Care UK care homes over the next 12 months, with further events also expected to be added to the programme throughout 2014/15.
Each individual three-hour session will be led by Neil Mapes and has been designed to help family carers understand what it might be like to live with dementia, as well as offering some practical advice on overcoming communication barriers and recognising language changes, with a focus on how to continue to be able to connect with someone living with dementia.
Neil explained: “With dementia affecting 820,000 people in the UK and a startling 25 million people having a close friend or family member living with the condition, there is a real and pressing need to provide easy access to professional support and information, and to ensure there are places people can go where they can share individual experiences.
“We are therefore thrilled to be working with Care UK to host an extensive programme of free events at its care homes. We are looking forward to giving family carers a far more positive understanding of dementia, as well as ‘living well’ tips, resources and models to aid interaction and communication with loved ones – to see the person and not the condition.”
Everyone who attends an event will receive a copy of Care UK’s Listen, talk, connect guide. Compiled by professional carers, families affected by dementia, and specialists in the field, the guide has been designed to help friends and relatives overcome any challenges they may face in communicating with those living with dementia.