Scottish charity the Life Changes Trust has doubled its national investment in communities that are dementia friendly, with a second wave of funding to the sum of £2.5 million. This brings their total investment to £5 million in the last three years.
Communities that are inclusive and dementia friendly play a crucial role in ensuring that people with dementia, carers and family members are supported after a diagnosis of dementia.
These communities provide a structure and culture that make it possible for people affected by dementia to do things that matter to them, remain integrated and active in their own communities and participate in decisions that affect their day-to-day lives.
In 2015, the Life Changes Trust initially funded 12 dementia friendly communities over three years. These have developed and grown, creating among them a further 82 new communities. To date, more than 3,400 people with dementia and have directly benefited from being part of a dementia friendly community.
This new investment of £2.5million will support 14 new communities, as well as providing some longer term support for previously funded communities.
Scotland is leading the way in understanding how communities that are dementia friendly work best. As well as providing information, support and opportunities, they draw on the abilities that people with dementia still have so they can contribute to their communities.
For example, in Stornoway, people with dementia in care homes, supported by the award-winning Arora community, have been sharing their knowledge of local stories, anecdotes and now-unused objects in order to preserve local history and leave a legacy for the local community, museums and researchers.
‘Gie it Laldy’ in Kilmarnock is a dementia friendly musical theatre community run by Centrestage. On a weekly basis older people (many living with dementia) get together and lead a musical theatre session supported by staff and volunteers, many of them young people. The vibrancy, energy and colour that typifies this 50-strong community is far removed from the usual images portrayed of people living with dementia. This community provides support, friendship and laughter.
With the advice of people with dementia and carers, Glasgow Film Theatre is making sure that people with dementia are not excluded from the cinema-going community, offering monthly ‘Movie Memories’ film screenings, as well as other multi-arts events across the city.
The British Deaf Association is using their funding to work with the Deaf community in Scotland. They are raising awareness of living with hearing loss and dementia, providing resources to help people with dementia and carers.
New funding was also awarded to Table Tennis Scotland, Scottish Ballet, Regional Screen Scotland, Edinburgh Leisure, Dementia Friendly Highlands, Dementia Orkney, the Forget-Me-Not Club in Banchory, Dementia Friendly Uists, Dementia Friendly Pentlands, Stirling and Forth Valley Dementia Friendly Neighbourhoods and care home communities in East Ayrshire and Kelso.
Anna Buchanan, Director of the Life Changes Trust dementia programme said, “The solution to getting it right for people with dementia lies with communities, and the relationships within them. Communities come in all shapes and sizes but any community can become dementia friendly if it follows some basic principles. These principles include focusing more on what people with dementia can do rather than what they can’t, and enabling them to do what really matters to them.”
For more information about the project see www.lifechangestrust.org.uk.