Families Step in to Run Dementia Bistro

care-bistroFamilies and friends of those people with dementia are helping to run their own special bistro at a care home to share advice on the issues surrounding the disease after it was opened by a campaigner.

Tea for Two was opened at Birch Green Care Home in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, by author and campaigner Ian Donaghy – who wrote the book Dear Dementia: The Laughter and Tears – to help share information on dementia for those interested in learning more.

The bistro has been so popular that family members of people with dementia have stepped in to help run it, along with a small shop selling useful items and bric-a-brac.

By creating the relaxing bistro environment, Birch Green is helping families of those people with dementia share their experience and gather information on the disease and its effects. Experienced dementia care advocates will also be on hand to provide advice.

Birch Green general manager Carol Nickeas said: “The families soon got involved and wanted to contribute to the bistro environment. This is ideal because they can share their own experiences and also benefit from the knowledge of our dementia advocates at the same time.”

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.

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.