Com­pan­ions help de­men­tia patients

Macclesfield Express - - EAST CHESHIRE HOSPICE -

EAST Cheshire Hos­pice is to take its care out into the com­mu­nity in an in­no­va­tive pro­ject de­signed to help peo­ple with de­men­tia.

The hos­pice will be re­cruit­ing a team of vol­un­teer de­men­tia ‘com­pan­ions’ who will visit peo­ple in the com­mu­nity – ei­ther in their own homes or ac­com­pa­ny­ing them on trips and vis­its.

The scheme, run in part­ner­ship with Age UK, the Alzheimer’s So­ci­ety and the Methodists Live At Home, will be run by Mac­cles­field clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist, Claire Halsey.

As pro­ject lead, Claire has the task of re­cruit­ing the new com­pan­ions which she hopes will grow to a team of 15 by the end of the year.

All the vol­un­teers will be trained to help with de­men­tia-care tech­niques and will be fully sup­ported in the com­mu­nity by Claire and the hos­pice vol­un­teer co-or­di­na­tor, He­lena Smith. “We are look­ing for out­go­ing, friendly, car­ing peo­ple who are happy to give a few hours ev­ery week to be­friend some­one with de­men­tia,” said Claire.

“We’d re­ally wel­come peo­ple with a range of lively in­ter­ests – from hob­bies such as gar­den­ing or pho­tog­ra­phy to in­ter­ests such as lo­cal his­tory.”

The new com­pan­ions will be care­fully matched with peo­ple in the com­mu­nity and, af­ter ini­tial train­ing, will be able to visit their cho­sen com­pan­ion ei­ther in their home or on vis­its in the com­mu­nity. No per­sonal care is in­volved.

“By sup­port­ing those suf­fer­ing with de­men­tia in an ac­tive way, we are adding value to their lives and, in turn, also sup­port­ing their car­ers,” said Claire.

The pro­ject has grown out of the on­go­ing de­men­tia Carer Well­Be­ing Scheme which has de­vel­oped de­men­tia ‘bud­dies’ who sup­port an eight-week pro­gramme for peo­ple with de­men­tia and their car­ers.

Any­one who feels they could be in­ter­ested in help­ing can con­tact He­lena Smith on 01625 610364.

‘We are adding value to their lives’

Claire Halsey and He­lena Smith at work

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