Windows of opportunity: prevention and early intervention in dementia
Interventions: Enhancing the quality of life - Case studies
A genuinely person-centred approach to assessment will identify the roles and activities that are important and valued to the individual. Care planning can then address how to maintain these roles and activities.
Dementia Care PartnershipOpen
Dementia Care Partnership is a Newcastle-based, carer-led charity which emphasises the importance of enabling people to live as full citizens in their community and supporting them to meet their full potential in life.
The strategic approach adopts a citizenship model involving people and local communities to design and deliver options to meet their needs at different stages of life so that their lives can be lived in a meaningful way.
Services include support in people’s own homes, an integrated health and wellbeing centre, well-being cafes and supported living schemes.
The enriched care planning approach takes the individual’s life story, lifestyle and future wishes and strengths and capacity into account in order to offer choice and control to the individual.
Life Story Work Open
If Life Story work is offered soon after diagnosis, it gives the person the opportunity to be an active participant in drawing together the elements of their own story and presenting them in a way that is personally satisfying. It gives them the chance to reflect on the things that are important and meaningful to them and to think about the things that they want to continue to have as part of their life.
As people move on through their journey, Life Stories enable people providing community support to see and appreciate them as a unique, valued and interesting individual, and provide prompts and material for shared communication. The Life Story also becomes a way of communicating the person’s aspirations and values when they are no longer able to.
After someone’s death, the Life Story remains as a shared celebration of that person’s life.
Link: The Life Story Network has additional resources and information.
Partnership Working in Sheltered Housing Open
Partnership working over a number of years between Sanctuary Housing and the local Alzheimer’s Society at sheltered housing schemes has delivered significant benefits. Initial advice to scheme managers progressed to awareness-raising sessions for residents and drop-in clubs at schemes.
It became apparent as the partnership strengthened that a number of people with dementia who were resident in sheltered schemes were missing out on social activities. Activities were organised that broke the cycle of isolation and gave residents the confidence to take part in social activities again.
Increasing the awareness of other residents has had the effect of increasing their inclination to help their neighbours to continue to be involved in social and group activities within the housing schemes.
The result has been the re-integration of people with dementia who had become isolated. People with suspected dementia were encouraged to seek help and advice earlier and received improved support from other residents and scheme managers.
Peer Support NetworksOpen
Peer support networks give people the opportunity to take part in a range of life-enhancing activities. Some of these may be activities that the person already values and wants to continue taking part in. Some of them may be new activities. The potential range is huge.
Activities that are already being used include singing, dancing, art and craftwork, walking, gardening, poetry reading and drama... basically the things that many of us enjoy doing!
The peer support networks also enable people with dementia to act as givers of support, not just passive recipients. This helps to maintain positive social roles and self-esteem.
Recognising people’s spiritual needs is important throughout the journey. It often gains its most powerful significance as an individual is nearing death.
A short film , “It’s still me, Lord...” produced by the Caritas Social Action Network explores the effects of dementia and how people’s spiritual needs can be understood and assessed. It provides information on meeting people’s spiritual needs in care settings and on the “welcoming parish”. Visit the Caritas website where you can find the film.
Link: The Leveson Centre for the study of Ageing, Spirituality and Social Policy has a range of resources in relation to dementia and spirituality.