We have a range of commissioned, non-commissioned and directly provided services across Bexley which provide support for those with dementia and their families and carers. Activities include:
Leisure and Sport Activities for those with dementia
- Oomph! Sessions. These are exercise classes that have been developed specifically for older people and those with dementia. They are adapted for people with various levels of fitness and ability to enable them to do the same class.
- Healthy Walks, including the development of a specific dementia friendly session
- Selected leisure centre classes
- Swimming, including water confidence lessons
Supporting People with Dementia and Memory Problems – through Libraries
Opportunities to stimulate memory and communication in a relaxed and friendly environment can support those with early signs of dementia and memory loss. In Bexley we offer support through our library groups in Sidcup and Bexleyheath. External partners and other Council Departments often attend these sessions giving practical advice and signposting group members to services and other forms of support.
The Central Library in Bexleyheath has a reading group for anyone suffering from impaired eye sight. This can range from complete blindness to macular degeneration. Libraries also support those recovering from strokes. A group meets at Sidcup Library and is open to anyone who struggles with reading as a result of a brain injury as well as welcoming referrals from NHS speech and language therapists.
The group offers a valuable bridge for those who have left formal speech and language therapy but still require practical support and guidance with reading and comprehension.
Library Reminiscence Sessions
Reminiscence sessions are taking place at Central, Erith, Sidcup and Crayford Library. The session aims to offer an informal meeting place for people living with early onset dementia and their carer’s. A great place to meet friends, join in activities and share experiences through reminiscence. On occasions there will be guest speaker that can offer new services and support.
Central Library 3rd Friday of month 10.30-12.00
Sidcup Library 2nd Friday of the month 2.00-4.00
Crayford Library 4th Wednesday of the month 2.00-3.30 (from February 2018)
Prevention and Early Intervention – Memory Café
Crossroads Care provides an opportunity for carers and people living with dementia/memory loss to participate in social activities in a friendly and informal environment in the presence of supportive staff and volunteers through their Memory Café. http://www.crossroadscaresoutheastlondon.org.uk/
Support services for people with Dementia and their Carers – the Alzheimer’s Society
The Alzheimer’s Society in Bexley provides a range of support services for people with dementia, their families and their carers in Bexley.
- They provide dementia support workers and dementia advisors who will work with individuals and families to identify needs and will provide information and practical advice to help maintain independence for as long as possible. This includes signposting to additional local support services.
- A Singing for the Brain group is run by staff and volunteers – this uses the benefits of music to help improve well-being and confidence, evoking memories and enhancing communication.
- Friends for Thought Dementia Café – the café provides the opportunity to take part in activities or just have a cup of tea and a chat with others in a similar situation.
- Activity groups – activity groups aim to provide opportunities to have fun, help maintain abilities and support memory and mobility.
- Peer Support Group – this specific group provides the person with dementia with the opportunity to meet regularly and share experiences, learning about living with dementia in a structured but informal environment. The group also provides a space to ask questions and learn from others.
- Carer Information and Support Programme (CrISP) – This programme focusses on the needs of carers. It provides information on a range of topics, such as legal and money matters. It also provides a confidential and supportive environment to share experiences.
- Carers Support Group – This is a friendly informal group for people who support someone living with dementia. The group provides an opportunity to meet regularly, connect with others, share emotions and experiences and practical information.
Prevention and Early Intervention – Support for Carers
In Bexley there is a wide range of support available to support those who care for others. A prevention and early intervention fund supports a range of initiatives across the Borough. Support offered to each carer is different depending on their needs and could include all or any of the services for example, care navigation, advice about welfare benefits, help to complete claim forms for benefits, emotional support, advocacy and signposting.
One to one emotional support is also offered to carers who are particularly isolated and/or under stress. Volunteers are trained in listening and counselling skills and matched with carers who they meet with on a weekly or fortnightly basis for a time-limited period initially (usually 10 sessions). Former carers are also supported, with a view to helping them to move on and to re-connect with the community and/or with friends they have lost touch with.
Other advice and support for carers includes:
- Carers information packs
- One to one information – advice and signposting
- Info and advice on where to access appropriate services
- Support for people to navigate health and social care systems
- Facilitated Support groups so that carers can meet where they can share info, provide mutual support and reduce isolation.
- Quarterly Newsletter
- Outreach worker who visits local hospital, particular stroke wards to offer support and advise
- Welfare Benefits advice
- Carers right in employment advice
- Single Borough wide point of access for all carers
- Peer led support groups
Breaks from caring responsibilities can help the carer continue to care by allowing them time to recharge their energy levels, allowing them a psychological break from the daily pressures of caring. Some carers and cared for clients find it difficult to leave their homes and/or caring responsibilities even for a short time. Breaks are therefore fundamental to ensuring that the carer’s needs are supported. Holiday breaks of up to two weeks can provide a complete rest for the carer and at the same time provide a positive and enjoyable experience for the cared for person.
Other support for carers include:
- Regular fortnightly breaks
- All day breaks
- Holiday breaks
- Short weekend breaks
- Overnight breaks
- Pop In visits during holiday cover
- 24/7 breaks
Other support available for carers includes volunteer befriending services which provides companionship and emotional support, and promotes the building of social circles. Organisations supported through the prevention and early intervention initiative includes Carers Support and Crossroads Care.