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Dementia Friendly Kent

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Sevenoaks Wellbeing and Cultural Experience Days

A summary of project/activity

The Wellbeing and Cultural Experience Days are for those living with dementia and their family/carers to be able to enjoy a day of activities with sessions both together and apart to improve their wellbeing by engaging in positive activities, reducing social isolation, having experiences that are tailored made with understanding and trained staff on hand.

Through speaking with people living with dementia and their carers from dementia and memory cafés, carers support groups, events run by Sevenoaks Area DFC and its members’ clients feedback, there is a withdrawal of those living with dementia and their carers from social and cultural activities and not participating together for a mix of reasons including the stress of preparations to get out of the house, transport, embarrassment of behaviours, a desire to have time apart, low self-esteem. The Wellbeing and Cultural Experience Days are tailored events supported by trained staff, providing activities to increase a sense of wellbeing and joy.

Please outline the aims of your project/activity, the approach you will take and why you think it will help us to meet our strategic outcomes and priorities

When someone has dementia, it’s important that they remain as fit and healthy as possible – both physically and mentally. The better they feel, the better life will be for them and those around them. A person’s health and wellbeing is affected by many different factors. The Alzheimer’s Society figures show 9 in 10 carers for people with dementia experience feelings of stress or anxiety several times a week. For both the person living with dementia and their family/carers there are psychological and physical wellbeing issues exacerbated by social isolation. This project will provide wellbeing and cultural experience days tailored to people living with dementia and their carers – understanding their needs in terms of times, transport, behaviours, exercise and fun. The aim is to provide a day that both the person living with dementia and their carer can attend and enjoy together within a supportive environment and trained staff, spending some time during the day apart. The days will incorporate an element of physical activities – such as Health Walks and Tai Chi/Qi Gong, Relaxation Techniques; Cultural experiences and reminiscence involving art and history; Therapeutic and pampering activities such as foot health, massage, make-overs; Fun such as afternoon tea, dance, entertainment. The specifics of the days will be planned through the experience of the management team in consultation with those living with dementia and their carers. Trained staff will be supporting the day with a high staff ratio to reduce the stress on carers and provide sessions where the person living with dementia and the carer can be apart.

The Wellbeing & Cultural Experience Days are specifically targeted to those living with dementia in the community and their carers. The beneficiaries will be identified through working with carers groups, dementia and memory cafés, the Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK. It is anticipated that up to 10 people could be supported per day but this could be increased if some are able to provide their own transport.

There will be 2 Wellbeing & Cultural days run in Knole, a National Trust Property in Sevenoaks, with the support of their staff and volunteers along with those from Home Instead Senior Care, The Good Care Group, Community Wardens and trained volunteers. Each day will commence late morning and run to late afternoon (where some people living with dementia experience sundowning symptoms). They will provide sessional activities for those living with dementia and their carers to spend some time together and some time apart. The days will incorporate a mix of physical, cultural and psychologically beneficial activities such as health walks, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, relaxation techniques, massage, hand and feet treatments, make-overs, lunch, afternoon tea, music, dance. Knole will be providing cultural talks and reminiscence activities allowing participants to see artefacts not commonly viewed. People will have the choice of accepting arranged transport or making their own way to Knole and the day will allow for people who arrive at different times. The team from staff and volunteers at Knole have been trained as Dementia Friends and there will be specialist staff attending from Home Instead and The Good Care Group. Participants will be able to join in some sessions together (to help share a positive experience together) along with sessions they may choose to be apart. We hope that the days will encourage those participating to consider attending Knole and similar places outside of the Wellbeing Days, where the staff have had training and the team are working towards becoming dementia friendly with the aim to reduce social isolation and improve psychological welllbeing.

Please give details of how you will manage your project/activity

The project will be managed by a team of around 6 people involving the named partners and those living with dementia and carers. The project will not employ any people directly but will contribute towards the costs of staff released from organisations to help achieve the project aims, e.g. manning the days and the costs of professionals commissioned to provide sessions on the days. Knole already has a strong team of volunteers who will support the project.

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