Totnes Caring has over 120 clients who are living with dementia or caring for someone with dementia and this number is increasing as more are referred by their families and from the local Health and Social Services teams that we work in partnership with. This causes many challenges for them because dementia is progressive and, in addition to affecting memory, dementia affects every part of the brain, so communication, coordination, spatial awareness, the ability to undertake tasks are all deteriorating. For a person living with dementia this often understandably causes fear, anxiety, frustration, loneliness and depression and is desperately difficult for their unpaid carers.
The Totnes Caring weekly memory cafe aims to provide a safe, relaxing space where people living with dementia and their carers can meet, chat, share experiences, build friendships and learn from each other. Approximately 40 people attend each week. From April we wish to provide a programme of fun and stimulating activities, such as singing, dancing, yoga, chair exercises, aromatherapy and games, that make both the clients and their carers can enjoy and look forward to. While their loved ones are taking part in the activities, the carers also have an opportunity to catch up with each other and to receive important information that will help them in their caring role.
Totnes Caring is a well known and well respected locally for supporting older, vulnerable people and has very good links with the local doctors' surgeries as well as with all the relevant local Health and Social Service teams, all of which refer clients. Mary Garvey, our dementia services coordinator for the last 4 years, runs our memory cafe and our dementia support and information services. She was previously Director of Services at the Alzheimer’s Society She has a Diploma in Dementia Studies (Bradford University) and has personal experience of caring for her mother who had dementia.
|Cost of activity providers||£310|
|Rent of Memory cafe venue||£390|
|Volunteer expenses including mileage for transport clients to and from memory cafe||£150|
|Cost of raffle prizes||£75|
We expect that over 90% of the people with dementia who attend the memory cafe will enjoy it, feel happier as a result, and will want to come again. We expect that over 90% of the carers who attend will enjoy the experience, feel happier as a result, and will want to come again with their loved ones. We will measure this by getting verbal feedback from all the attendees. The overall impact will we that our those living with dementia, both those that live alone and those who are cared for by a love done, will be able to live happily in their own homes for longer.
Ref. from Martin Randall, manager of doctors' surgery: Totnes Caring have provided outstanding care since 1987. Since then Totnes Caring have developed into what is now a vital and integral part of health and social care locally. They are incredibly responsive, taking referrals daily from our team to ensure that their needs are met, whether that be through physical support, engaging in community activities, befriending or helping with transport issues for hospital appointments. In a time when NHS resources are stretched, having such a knowledgeable team to handover patients we feel may need support is priceless. We have established local dementia referral pathways between primary care and Totnes Caring to make sure that patients suffering with memory loss are plugged into a network of support from the outset. Engaging patients and their carers with this community support from the early stages has helped dramatically with enabling people to live to live safely in their own homes.