AN ORGANIZATION that supports people with dementia says it has seen renewed interest in some of its services during the pandemic.
Dignity in Dementia offers a range of support services for people with dementia, from individual and group walks to the transmission of a weekly reminiscence radio show via Candofm.
Over the past 18 months, the pandemic has prompted Dignity in Dementia to move many of its activities online, hosting song, poetry and even gardening groups on Zoom.
Lesley Gill, who co-founded the organization alongside fellow director Diane Smilie, says that despite the initial challenge of moving its operations online, there have been a number of benefits.
“Our goal is always to uphold the dignity of people with dementia and their caregivers,” Lesley said.
“The pandemic has given us a push to do things in a new way, which we have embraced, and I think we have done so very successfully.
“Some of these things we’re going to continue to do. For example, when we took our family caregiver courses, we always went to a specific location to deliver them. During the pandemic, we held them online. We’re having a lot more people signing up than ever before because they take place at night and people don’t have to leave their homes to travel somewhere.
Although based in Arnside, Dignity in Dementia – which employs six people and has around 16 volunteers – also provides services in West Cumbria, Carlisle and Penrith.
As part of World Alzheimer’s Disease Month, which runs throughout September, Lesley and Diane are encouraging families of people with dementia to enroll in her free Zoom for Family Caregivers course.
Classes consist of four one-hour sessions covering everything from the basics of dementia to how to communicate with people with dementia and how to deal with challenging behaviors.
“It’s all about the emotional well-being of the person with dementia,” Lesley explains.
Dignity in Dementia has been supported in its work over the past two years by a donation of £ 60,000 from the Cumberland Construction Company, which will also help fund its work in 2022.
Becky Towns, CSR and Communications Manager at The Cumberland, said: “Currently over 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK, and that number is expected to increase, including in our own region. No one knows who will be impacted; it could be a friend, family member, neighbor, client or colleague.
“For all of us, having a better understanding of the disease can only help to have a positive impact with the ultimate goal of changing perceptions and creating dementia-friendly communities across the region.
“This is why we are proud to support the work of the dedicated team at Dignity in Dementia, because they help so many people.
“It’s great to see that they have not only maintained the support they provide to people over the past 18 months, but have also been able to scale their services in response to the pandemic and d ‘also increase their number of users. ”
The next Zoom of Dignity in Dementia course for family caregivers will start on Thursday, October 7, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the following three Thursdays.
To reserve a place or get more information, send an email to [email protected]
or call Diane on 07771 682378.