Dementia Cafe Serves Up Advice

Birch-GreenA care home is serving up a regular helping of advice to families, friends and interested parties on the issues surrounding dementia.

The initiative has been set up at Birch Green Care Home in Skelmersdale, Merseyside, to help share information and expertise on dementia for those interested in learning more.

By dropping in for a coffee or a tea and sharing experiences, Birch Green is helping families of those people with dementia come to terms with the disease and its effects.

Birch Green general manager Carol Nickeas said: “We want to share our learnings with those who want to understand more about dementia and what it means.

“For many families who have never experienced it, the journey can be difficult and we help to de-mystify some of the myths as well as provide information and support. An informal setting such as our cafe is ideal and is becoming a source of comfort for them.”

As a centre of expertise, staff member Gill Tugwell is also a dementia ambassador, leading the Focused Intervention Training and Support (FITS) project at Birch Green, one of just 150 homes in the country to commit to the training.

Industry figures show that 90 per cent of dementia sufferers will experience symptoms that affect behaviour, causing aggression, agitation, delusions and hallucinations.

Under the FITS project, the intensive training programme will be followed up with regular supervision sessions as best practice is rolled out to other staff members.

There are currently 800,000 people with dementia in the UK, expected to rise to more than a million by the year 2021.

The term dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes.