A Day in the Life of.. a Dementia Navigator

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My name is Sue Acton and I am a Dementia Navigator working in North Warwickshire.

It’s 9am and I’m heading off to my first client visit of the day. My patch is quite large and a bit of a distance from my home – I cover all of North Warwickshire, including Nuneaton, but live in Leamington Spa – and I need to be in Atherstone for 10am. My briefcase is loaded up with client notes and lots of brochures and factsheets. As well as Alzheimer’s Society material I like to take along relevant information from other organisations such as Age UK and Guideposts Trust, plus details of local dementia services such as a Carer’s Café run by a local GP practice.

My first clients are long standing service users, a couple in their 80s called Mary and Fred. I chat with both Mary and Fred for a while, and then with just Mary. Fred, who cares full time for Mary, takes the opportunity to relax for an hour on his own, knowing Mary is safe – even a short break like this can make all the difference. Mary and I talk about her children and her time as a wartime evacuee, but after a while she becomes emotional – she is terrified of ‘going mad’ and being ‘put away’. Despite the difficulties, it’s clear there is a lot of love between her and Fred. I agree a date for another visit and ask Fred to keep me posted on his Community Care Assessment – I’m concerned that Fred needs more support in his role as carer.

It’s now approaching lunchtime and I have an hour before my next visit, and so I grab a sandwich and coffee at a nearby garden centre. I write up my notes – having an iPad makes it so much easier to keep on top of things when I’m out all day – and also call my boss to discuss a couple of things, including my taking part in a post diagnostic support group set up by the Memory Service team in Nuneaton.

At 1pm it’s time for my second home visit of the day in Coleshill – a new client referred to us by one of our volunteers. Joan cares full time for Roger, and is finding things extremely tough. I simply listen for a while as Joan tells me her story, something that a lot of people want to do at the first meeting. As well as dementia, Roger has a number of physical problems that are in many ways harder to manage, and mean Joan cannot leave the house for more than an hour. I learn that Roger served in the army, and so I agree to look into services provided by The Royal British Legion which may be of use. I also encourage Joan to approach social services for further support. I leave feeling I haven’t been of much use, at least for now.

Today is slightly unusual in that I have a third visit late afternoon – I am meeting Andrew and his son Liam to discuss his wife Kate’s recent diagnosis. Kate and Andrew are relatively young and Andrew still works full time, hence the later than usual meeting. We are getting together in a café in Nuneaton as Andrew feels it would be helpful for him to be able to talk freely.

Again I have an hour before the meeting and so I fire up the iPad – I want to research Roger’s medical condition as it’s not something I have heard of before. I also catch up with some emails and remind myself of Kate and Andrew’s details, as well as adding them to the list of younger clients I am compiling – as a Navigator team we are looking at how we can meet the needs of younger people with dementia and will be inviting them to a meeting to get their views.

At 4pm I track down Andrew and Liam in the café, after the inevitable embarrassment of approaching the wrong people first. We have a long chat covering a whole range of topics, from the genetics of Alzheimer’s to Kate’s symptoms, to the practicalities of Andrew sorting out Power of Attorney to enable him to make decisions for Kate when she is no longer able to do so. I agree to speak to a colleague at Guideposts with whom Andrew has already spoken, and to send some information about our CRISP programme. I also provide various factsheets as well as details of support groups in the area. We will meet again next month.

It’s been a long day, and I head home. Tomorrow I’ll be in the Leamington office all day, writing up the rest of my notes and following up agreed actions. Although this isn’t the easiest job at times and I find it tough when I can’t ‘fix’ things for people, equally I absolutely love it – as well as the satisfaction of helping others, I love meeting such a variety of people and the fact no two days are the same.

To find out more about Warwickshire’s Dementia Navigators’ service please contact Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire on 01926 888 899 or email dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk 

(The photographs used on this website are for illustrative purposes only)

Dementia Cafés in Warwickshire

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People with dementia often say that following the diagnosis they loose the confidence to socialise. Family members often feel left out and experience social isolation, due to the impact that the caring role has on their time and relationships.

Dementia cafés are drop-in centres offering a friendly and safe environment, where people living with dementia, and their family and friends, can come to meet others who are in the same boat, have a chat over a cup of coffee, share experiences and information, and learn about support available in their local communities.

Dementia cafés offer sessions with speakers from a range of organisations covering a variety of topics that help to support individuals living with dementia, their spouses, partners or children. The cafés can also provide a range of fun activities including singing and playing games from the past.

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Dementia café near me

To find a dementia café that is local to you please visits Warwickshire Directory of services. Below is also a list of local dementia cafés, and contact details for any enquiries.

Dementia Café
Waverley Day Centre, 65 Waverley Road, Kenilworth, CV8 1JL
Contact: Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire, Tel: 01926 888899

The Little Ray of Sunshine
The Kenilworth Centre, Kenilworth
Contact: Tel: 01926 855205

The Memory Café
Woodloes Tavern, Woodloes Avenue South, Warwick, CV34 5RN
Contact: Paul Murren, Tel: 01926 490327

Singing for the Brain
BRUNSWICK HEALTHY LIVING CENTRE, 98-100 Shrubland Street, Leamington Spa, CV31 3BD
Contact: Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire, Tel: 01926 888899

Musical Memories at The Moorings
The Moorings Bar and Restaurant, Myton Road, Leamington Spa, CV31 3NY
Contact: Age UK Warwickshire, Tel: 01926 458100

Waverley Dementia Carers Group
Waverley Day Centre, Waverley Road, Kenilworth, CV8 1JL
Contact: Waverley Day Centre, Tel: 01926 858433

Dementia Café
Blackdown Priors House, Old Milverton Lane, Blackdown, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW
Contact: Tel: 0333 321 1924

Dementia Café
St Andrew’s Church, Church Lane, Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 9HQ
Contact: Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire, Tel: 01926 888899

WRAPPERS café
Bishopton Primary School Community Centre, Drayton Avenue, Stratford upon Avon,
CV37 9PB
Contact: Warwickshire Reminiscence Action Project, Tel: 0780 3729894

Dementia Café
Stour Court, Shipston-on-Stour, CV36 4HF
Contact: Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire, Tel: 01926 888899

Alcester Café
The Jubilee Centre, Jubilee Hall, (off St Faith’s Road), Alcester, B49 6AG
Contact: Alcester Dementia Café, Tel: 01789 488088

Stour Valley Dementia Carers’ Group
Ellen Badger Hospital, Stratford Road, Shipston on Stour, CV36 4AX
Contact: Stour Valley Carers Support Group, Tel: 01608 663808 or 01608 686013

Dementia Café
The Oasis, 1st floor, Rugby Health and Wellbeing Centre, Drover Close, Rugby, CV21 3HX
Contact: Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire, Tel: 01926 888899

Friday Friends
The Garden Room, Bulkington Village Centre, Bulkington, CV12 9JB
Contact: Bulkington Surgery, Tel: 02476 733020

What other people said:

Dementia café offers good social interaction.

The café is a very good resource of information and is very supportive.

Warwickshire’s 10,000 Dementia Friends Challenge – a call to action!

Warwickshire now has over 7,000 Dementia Friends, which is a huge achievement.  But we still need your support to reach our target of 10,000 Dementia Friends in Warwickshire by the end of June.

Please help us to create a more Dementia Friendly Warwickshire and become a Dementia Friend today! If you are already a Dementia Friend, you could encourage someone else to get involved.

It takes just five minutes to become a Dementia Friend; just follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/
  2. Go to ‘Register and watch the video’
  3. Enter your details on the website
  4. Watch the video
  5. Add your address and a Dementia Friend badge and Little Book of Friendship will then be sent through the post.

It’s as simple as that – become a Dementia Friend today!

If you use Twitter, please let us know that you have got involved:

@WCCPublicHealth            @DementiaCandW

Dementia Friends Information Sessions can be delivered at one of your informal meetings, among a group of friends or at work.

Sessions last up to one hour. If you would like to enquire about holding a session for people you know (provided they are based in Coventry or Warwickshire), please contact us on dementiapartnership at warwickshire.gov.uk

Thank you for your support!

Musical Memories at The Moorings – new Dementia Cafe in Leamington Spa

Musical Memories at The Moorings

Are you living or caring for someone with Dementia? If so the Musical Memories Café could be for you.

The café aims to:

  • Support people, their families and carers living with memory problems.
  • Recognize the importance music can play in bridging memories.
  • Encourage socialising with others in similar circumstances.
  • Enable carers to share experiences, emotions and understanding.

What activities can I expect?

  • Listening to and joining musicians and volunteers in ‘making music’.
  • Sharing experiences and emotions in relaxed, informal surroundings.

What does it cost?

The café is FREE.

Where does the Café operate?

The Moorings Bar and Restaurant,

Myton Road, Leamington Spa, CV31 3NY

When?

10.00am-12.00pm the last Monday every month (except bank holidays)

If you are interested in attending, please contact Age UK Warwickshire for further information:

Telephone: 01926 458100

Living with Dementia – Kevin’s story

My name is Hilary and I am married to Kevin, who lives with Alzheimer’s.

We have been together for the last 46 years – and they have been quite eventful!  We have moved house numerous times, and lived in Australia for 6 years, 4 of them in a remote iron ore mining town on the edge of the Gibson dessert. In 1978 we returned to England with our two daughters who were born in Perth, Western Australia, became foster parents to five teenagers, and adopted a baby with Downs Syndrome.  In the space of three years our family grew from the 4 of us to 10.  Life was busy to say the least!

Our Christian faith is central to our lives, and for 10 years Kevin was the Pastor of an Independent Baptist church in Southend-on-Sea.  Towards the latter part of his ministry there it was becoming obvious that he was having problems with his memory, and whereas it had never been a problem for him to prepare and preach a sermon, things were becoming more and more difficult.  Coupled with the memory problems Kevin also had a sleep disorder, and would often fall asleep at work without realising it.

After various tests at the local hospital, we were informed that it was unlikely that Kevin would work again. We decided to downsize and re-located back to Leamington, where several members of our family lived. There was also a specialist home nearby which could cater for our special needs son, who by this time was in his early 20s.

There was now just the two of us living in a retirement flat.  Kevin had many tests to try and pinpoint what was causing his memory problems, which by this time were getting steadily worse, but no specific diagnosis was given, which Kevin found very frustrating.

Our main source of help and support came from the Alzheimer’s Society, and during one ‘cafe’ we were approached by a Consultant, who, after talking to us both, arranged for Kevin to be seen by Dr. A at a local mental health centre.  Even though Kevin had been on medication for Alzheimer’s prescribed by our GP, he still hadn’t been given a reason why he was on this.

After many years of not knowing what was really happening, Dr. A finally told Kevin that he had Alzheimer’s.  For many people that would be a real shock, but for Kevin it was a relief.  At long last we had a concrete reason for the difficulties he had been experiencing.  Alzheimer’s is not a diagnosis anyone wants to have, but sometimes knowing that there is something wrong, but not knowing what, is even more difficult.

Eleven years have now past since Kevin had to stop working, and although the illness has inevitably progressed, he is still able to enjoy some measure of independence.  One of the most useful tools he uses is a card made for him by the local Alzheimer’s Society stating that he has Alzheimer’s disease.  When he goes to the local shops, he shows a member of staff the card and they accompany him round the shop to make sure that he gets the right things on his shopping list, and help sort out his money.  The staff in these shops have been really helpful, and Kevin no longer has to worry about getting the wrong thing, or forgetting something altogether.  Full marks to all the establishments who have signed up to become Dementia Friendly – it makes a huge difference to the lives of both those with dementia and their carers!

We have trialled a few tracking devices over the past few years, none of which have been very successful, and although the new smart phones can incorporate a tracking system, these types of phones are far too difficult for people with dementia to use.

Kevin has a special phone made by Doro.  It only has 4 buttons, marked A,B, C&D, next to which you can write a person’s name.  For him A is home, B is my mobile, C is his brother, & D is one of our daughters. It also has an SOS button for emergencies.  At the moment Kevin can still use this (usually!) and it means we can keep in contact with each other if he goes out.

Life does not have to end when dementia begins but it can often bring many difficulties. Ever the optimist, Kevin often says ‘well it doesn’t hurt’; physically that may be so, but psychologically things are much harder.

When someone tells you they have Alzheimer’s or dementia NEVER say ‘I can’t see anything wrong with you’ or ‘Oh we all forget things’.  You wouldn’t say that to someone who told you they had cancer, or some other illness, so just try to listen and treat people with kindness!

If you would like to learn more about Hilary and Kevin’s experiences of living with dementia, please visit Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Portal’ Dementia Friendly Communities page and watch the short Dementia Friendly Warwickshire video clip. 

Dementia Awareness Week 2015 – diary of events (Warwickshire)

Dementia Awareness Week 2015 will be held between 17th and 23rd May.

The theme of this year’s Dementia Awareness Week is ‘Life doesn’t end when dementia begins’ and the events held during the week will focus around raising awareness of the condition and that people with dementia can live well with the right support.

This year, Warwickshire County Council and partners have teamed up with Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire to put on a number of ‘Signing for the Brain’ events across the county. There will be one main singing event held in each district and borough, and the Dementia Friends campaign song ‘With a little help from my friends’ (by the Beatles) will be performed by local community choirs in public spaces.

The ‘Singing for the Brain’ events in Warwickshire will be held as follows:

  • Warwick District: Saturday 16th May at 2pm – Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa & Warwick Hospital, Lakin Road, Warwick
  • Rugby Borough: Saturday 16th May at 2pm – Rugby Library, Little Elborow Street, Rugby
  • North Warwickshire Borough: Saturday 16th May at 2pm – Atherstone Market Square, Atherstone
  • Stratford District: Sunday 17th May at 2pm – High Street, Alcester
  • Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough: Wednesday 20th May at 1pm – Nuneaton Market Stall, Nuneaton Town Centre

There will also be a range of other individual awareness raising events, held across Warwickshire by different organisations, community groups and in GP surgeries.

If you would like to find out about events held in your local area, please contact Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Partnership on dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

Every action counts! Tweet about your event or action using the hashtag #CWDAW2015 or #DoSomethingNew, or email the Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Partnership on dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk with some details we could promote on your behalf!

Dementia Awareness Week 2015 (17-23rd May) – a call to action!

Coventry and Warwickshire’s Dementia Action Alliance* would like to invite people living and working in Warwickshire to participate in this year’s Dementia Awareness Week, which will take place from 17th – 23rd May 2015. Dementia Awareness Week is supported nationally by the Alzheimer’s Society.

There are an estimated 7,800 people living with dementia in Warwickshire; this is predicted to increase by 30% in the next ten years. Therefore, it is likely that many people will either know someone with dementia or become affected by the illness at some point in their lives.

What could you do?

Some of the easy ways you could do to contribute to raising awareness of dementia could be, for example, displaying dementia awareness related information in a public space, distributing resources that raise awareness of dementia (we can provide those) in your local community or holding a Dementia Friends information session during a coffee morning or a regular group get together.

Becoming a Dementia Friend is about understanding a bit more about dementia and the small things that can help people with the condition. You don’t need to already know someone with dementia to become a Dementia Friend.

These are only suggestions and we invite you to be creative about your own ideas on how you could get involved.

You would not be expected to give detailed expert dementia advice to members of the public who attend your event.

Tweet about your event using the hashtag #CWDAW2015 or email Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance on dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk with a photo we could post on Twitter to promote your event to the world! (don’t forget to obtain all necessary permissions before using the image).

What are the benefits to you?

By helping us to raise awareness of dementia and how it can impact a person’s life, you are helping to improve people’s understanding of the condition and therefore – support more people with dementia, and their carers to feel confident about accessing their local community.

You could also attract new people to join your group or use your services as part of your dementia awareness raising activities. You may also be able to build up new networks with other groups in your community.

What resources / support will be available?

To support you we will provide you with some dementia awareness raising information resources (including leaflets, bookmarks, and posters), a ‘Dementia Friendly Warwickshire’ DVD and a poster to advertise your event.

Contact

If you have any questions about running an event during Dementia Awareness Week 2015 please contact us by phone (01926 742214) or email: dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

We are looking forward to hearing back from you!

* The Alliance is made up of a number of organisations working together across Coventry and Warwickshire to raise awareness of dementia and to develop dementia friendly communities.

Warwickshire County Council staff support Dementia Friends

Early in the new year a call went out to Warwickshire County Council staff to encourage them to sign up as a Dementia Friend. The response so far has been really positive with many staff taking part in Dementia Friends Information Sessions, either individually or through team meetings.

Since December the number of Dementia Friends in Warwickshire has increased from 2,353 to 3,620 in March. But there is still a way to go to meet the ambitious target of 10,000 Dementia Friends in Warwickshire by June, so the continued support is needed.

Dementia Friends is an initiative led by the Alzheimer’s Society based on the principle that people with dementia can live well with a little help from other people. Becoming a Dementia Friend is about understanding a bit more about dementia and the small things that can help people with the condition. You don’t need to already know someone with dementia to become a Dementia Friend.

If you would like to become a Dementia Friend it’s very easy and just requires a short time commitment. There are three ways you can get involved.

1. Attend an hour long Dementia Friends Information session. Everyone who attends a session and wants to become a Dementia Friend will get a Dementia Friends badge and information card. You can book a place by going online and visiting the national Dementia Friends website: www.dementiafriends.org.uk

2. Watch a brief video on the Dementia Friends’ website www.dementiafriends.org.uk and leaving your details on the site so you can be sent your Dementia Friends badge and Little Book of Friendship.

OR

3. Groups may want to hold a group Dementia Friends Information session, perhaps as part of their regular meeting. If you would like to find out more about this please email: dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

Participants’ feedback

Here’s some feedback from those Warwickshire County Council staff who have completed their Dementia Friends Information session:

“I just wanted to thank you for coming to our Team Briefing this morning and talking to us about Dementia Friends. I personally found it really interesting, and thought you presented it extremely well”

“I didn’t get a chance to say how much I appreciated yesterday’s training session. You made it very varied and a lot of staff were talking about it through the day and said how interesting they found it. The analogy about the bookcases was very clear and thought provoking.”

“I learnt such a lot.”

For any enquiries please contact Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Partnership at dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

Warwickshire’s Community Support Services for People with Dementia

Warwickshire’s Dementia Community Support Services

Warwickshire County Council have redesigned community support services for people with dementia following a public consultation held as part of Warwickshire’s Living Well with Dementia Strategy refresh in 2014 and the engagement outcomes. Benefits of the new services will include improved provision of information and advice to people with dementia and their carers, reducing their risk of loneliness and social isolation and preventing avoidable admissions to acute care.

The following services will commence on 1st April 2015:

Dementia Day Opportunities

The aim of the Dementia Day Opportunities service is to help maintain the skills, health & wellbeing and social inclusion of people with dementia whilst providing them with an opportunity to participate in a variety of meaningful activities (for example, reminiscence therapy, music and movement or arts and crafts) and offering respite for their carers. The dementia day opportunities service may be both building based and/or provided in the community, depending on the needs of individuals.

The service may only be accessed via a Social Care Assessment and referrals will be accepted from Adult Social Care, secondary mental health services e.g. Memory Assessment Clinician, GPs, mental health teams, Warwickshire’s Dementia Navigator service or those who self fund their care. Please contact Warwickshire County Council to check if you or the person you look after are eligible for this service (Tel. 01926 410410).

The dementia day opportunities service will be available 5 days a week across Warwickshire. The service will be provided by Age UK in Nuneaton and Bedworth, North Warwickshire and Rugby boroughs (Tel. 01926 458100), and Alzheimer’s Society in Warwick and Stratford districts (Tel. 01926 888899).

Dementia Navigators

Dementia Navigators will provide early intervention and preventative post diagnosis support through:

  • A single point of access to information and advice following a diagnosis of dementia or to those going through the diagnosis journey
  • Signposting to support services available in a person’s locality e.g. dementia cafes or carers support groups
  • Practical and emotional support to people with dementia diagnosis and their carers
  • Signposting to or provision of training around dementia awareness and coping strategies for family carers

People can self refer to the service, or be referred by their GP, health or social care staff.

There will be four (full time equivalent) Dementia Navigators covering all the county. Contact with the service will be via telephone, email and/or face to face depending on individual needs and preferences. The Dementia Navigators service will be provided by Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire (Tel. 01926 888899).

In addition to the services outlined above, there are also a range of other initiatives and services in Warwickshire to support people to live well with Dementia.

Please visit Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia portal for more details: www.livingwellwithdementia.org, or contact us on dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance – a year on …

In 2012 the Prime Minister launched his Challenge on Dementia outlining a set of commitments to improve the lives of people with dementia and carers. One of those commitments was to work to create dementia friendly communities across the UK.

Coventry and Warwickshire embraced this challenge and in January 2014 formed Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance – a partnership of local organisations and businesses signed up to make the region more dementia friendly.

All communities, organisations and businesses pledging to become dementia friendly in Coventry and Warwickshire are expected to work towards the following core principles:
• Enhanced awareness and understanding of dementia – for example, by offering basic awareness training to staff, sharing information about dementia via newsletters or referring to Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Portal website for more information on dementia and support services available locally (www.livingwellwithdementia.org)
• Aiming to provide a dementia friendly environment
• Developing positive attitudes towards the delivery of services to those most vulnerable in our society

There are currently 28 members of Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance, for example Warwickshire Fire and Rescue service, George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton or Shipston on Stour community, all contributing to making Warwickshire a dementia friendly county. The full list of member organisations can be seen on the national Dementia Action Alliance website:
Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance

As an Alliance, we have developed our local approach and guidance around creating dementia friendly communities in Warwickshire, and awareness raising resources. We are closely linking in with Public Health around development of healthy living campaigns and initiatives e.g. Pictures to Share books, Books on Prescription or Exercise on referral scheme for people with dementia.

We have developed dementia awareness training for staff and people working in the community – so far, more than 400 staff across Warwickshire have attended this course and improved their knowledge of dementia.

We have also produced a short video clip to make people aware of Warwickshire’s initiative and how people can become involved; this clip also explains how local businesses and organisations can become dementia friendly by showcasing examples of those that are already working towards this. Copies of this DVD can be obtained for free by any organisation or business signed up to the Alliance or viewed on the Dementia Friendly Communities page of the Living Well with Dementia Portal.

As part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Partnership’s commitment to making Coventry and Warwickshire dementia friendly, the Council has set the ambitious target of encourage 8000 people to pledge their support to people with dementia, which will take the number of ‘dementia friends’ across the County to 10 000 (Warwickshire’s Dementia Friends Challenge 2015)

There will be a number of Dementia Friends sessions scheduled across Warwickshire, available to local residents, and people will be able to book a place through the Dementia Friends website in the next couple of weeks.

If you would like more details on how to sign up to become dementia friendly and/or if you wish to join the regional Dementia Action Alliance, please contact Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance on dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

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