Today, the Society’s focus is on dementia care, as it is a major issue for our ageing population. We have funded research and symposia, working in partnership with other organisations to understand the needs of people with dementia and their carers. In 2013, we commissioned the University of Worcester Association for Dementia Studies to investigate what good support would look like to the family carers of people with dementia.
Following through on this research, the Society is now investing to develop community-based support, putting the family carers of people with dementia at the centre. We are starting in East Kent. We want to evaluate the results so we can learn what works and spread this to other areas of the country.
Our vision is to make a difference in what matters to carers so that they
- can support their relative with dementia to live well at home for as long as possible.
- have quality of life for themselves, their families and the person living with dementia.
- can enable the person with dementia to have an active role in their community and not be isolated at home.
- can contribute to the design of services and determine what works for them.
The way forward: working in partnership in East Kent
The Society is currently focused on carers of people with dementia in East Kent. We are working in partnership with the local voluntary and statutory sector in East Kent to fund and develop services that fill the gaps in support for carers of people with dementia, and to join up the support to improve the quality of life for them. Our goal is to put the carer of the person with dementia at the centre.
This is a new initiative for the Society and, like everyone else, we have limits on our resources. We want to know that anything we develop and fund is effective and that it is making a difference to carers, so we will evaluate any developments that we support financially.
We are working in partnership with voluntary sector organisations in the area, including local Age UKs, Learning through Landscapes and East Kent Independent Dementia Support, to identify gaps impacting on carers of people with dementia, to provide hubs of support for carers in Herne Bay, Deal, Faversham and Margate.
The diagram illustrates the network of support provided through these voluntary sector hubs. The investment from the RSAS will cover:
- one-to-one support from trained staff available to carers from the point of diagnosis, in memory clinics and primary care, who can link them to the statutory and voluntary services in the East Kent area at an early stage, to help them cope
- a personal planning resource for carers in contact with these services
- drop-in facilities for carers, based in Herne Bay and Margate, providing well-designed, dementia-friendly and relaxing surroundings, with landscapes that are designed in consultation with carers
- ‘The Learning Curve’ five week training course for carers to help them understand and prepare for the course of dementia in the person they look after
- information and advice sessions for carers
- Carers Create – music, arts and crafts for carers to help maintain their wellbeing