WALKING IN THE SHOES OF THOSE LIVING WITH DEMENTIA

MP for Clacton, Giles Watling joined Care Professionals from Frinton based, Home Instead, on Friday 25th March 2022 to gain first-hand experience of living with dementia. 

Home Instead, who provide care and support to clients in their own homes, teamed up with Colchester’s Training2Care to offer the virtual dementia tour.  The eye-opening training session uses the latest technology to give those taking part a chance to walk in the shoes of a person living with dementia. 

Chief Executive of Home Instead (Frinton, Clacton, Brightlingsea and Walton), Jean Allen explains why this is so important: “Currently, around 30% of our clients are living with dementia and we want to ensure we provide the best possible care to everyone.  

“Dementia is more than just a loss of memory it alters a person’s everyday life.  If you can understand how, then you are able to look at the changes you can make to best support that person and help improve their lives.  This unique training experience gives you that clarity and a greater sense of empathy, so that our amazing Care Professionals have the knowledge and tools they need to do their absolute best for each client they care for.” 

Glenn Knight CEO, Training2Care talks about how the training works: “The Virtual Dementia Tour is the only scientifically and medically proven method of giving a person with a healthy brain, an experience of what dementia might be like.  Using specially developed equipment, the delegates will walk in the shoes of a person with dementia and feel and act exactly like a person at the mid stage of their journey. 

“The Virtual Dementia Tour has been experienced by over 5 million people in 25 different countries and invented by American Professor PK Beville. Challenging, scary, emotional but life adjusting, the Virtual Dementia Tour changes our understanding of dementia and gives the ability for delegates to make simple changes that will improve lives.” 

As their local MP, Home Instead felt it was important that Giles Watling also had an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of dementia and the confusion and disorientation those living with it can experience, as well as the impact on loved ones and care givers.   

Giles said: “Sadly, I have had difficult and personal encounters with dementia.  I know how damaging it can be, not only to the individual living with dementia, but to those around offering help and support. 

“It is vital that we, as a community, strive to bring some light into the lives of those affected by engendering a greater understanding of this debilitating condition.” 

Alongside the specialist dementia training Home Instead offers its staff, the company also work in partnership with Frinton Free Church to deliver twice monthly Dementia Cafés on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month.  They include a sing-along session and aim to offer support, fun and friendship to those living with dementia and their loved ones. 

Pastor, Sally Bates said: “Our dementia café and magical memories singing group are a fantastic way of showing both cared-for and carers that they are valued, supported and loved, just as they are.” 

Brenda Wedge who cares for her husband Barry thinks the sessions are invaluable, she said: “Everyone is so friendly, helpful and welcoming and Barry loves the singing.” 

Pauline Taylor, takes her mum Barbara along, Pauline said: “It’s a wonderful club, mum really enjoys getting out and meeting such lovely people.” Barbara agrees, she added: “I love the singing, I used to sing professionally.” 

The Dementia Café, which started in October 2021, is so popular that it’s outgrown its original location in the Oasis Café at Frinton Free Church, and now the packed sessions easily fill the church’s main hall.  

If you would like to find out more about the home care and support services Home Instead offer or you are interested in a career in the care profession, please call 01255 672269. 

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