The Droitwich Spa Meeting Centre - Helping people to live well with dementia
The Droitwich Spa Meeting Centre is essentially a local club for people living with mild and moderate dementia and their families that offers a warm and friendly programme of activities and expert support that helps them to cope well in adjusting to living with the symptoms and changes that dementia brings. It is open for 3 days a week from 10:30 to 15:30 each day and can accommodate 15-20 people living with dementia each day. People attend as little or as often as they need but most of the current members attend regularly with a number attending for all 3 days.
What the project aims to achieve
A diagnosis of dementia is a huge challenge to come to terms with. If people make good emotional, social and practical adjustment to dementia following diagnosis, then it is likely that they will experience fewer distressing symptoms later and will be able to live at home for longer with a better quality of life for them and their families. Help and support for families and people affected by dementia is often fragmented. People often feel overwhelmed and confused about where to get help. The Droitwich Spa Meeting Centre is a way of providing accessible support on a local level to act against this.
The impact it will have
People coming to the Centre find it to be a place where they can enjoy the company of others and participate in a variety of activities to address their emotional, cognitive and social requirements and help them to adjust to their changing needs, following a diagnosis. The ethos is on providing a warm and accepting atmosphere where people can re-build their confidence and relax. The support programme helps people and families affected by dementia cope for the long haul with the potentially devastating impacts of dementia.
There is good evidence both from Dutch research and recent UK research that people attending Meeting Centres experience better self-esteem, greater feelings of happiness and sense of belonging than those who don’t attend. Those who attended most regularly showed fewer of the more distressing symptoms of dementia and a greater feeling of support. Family carers also experience less burden feel better able to cope. People with dementia and carers report high levels of satisfaction with the programme, seeing it as an important way of keeping active and feeling supported.
The presence of the Centre also raises awareness of dementia within the local community and helps people to better understand the needs of family members, friends and neighbours who are diagnosed. This helps to remove stigma or worry about talking about dementia as they feel more able to talk about their situation and feel better supported. Members of the Community are always welcome to visit the Centre to see what it does and possibly volunteer to help in various ways - e.g. at the Centre, raising awareness, referrals and fundraising.
How the money will make a difference.
If we could secure a contribution of £18,750.00, which represents half of the external funding needed to secure the future of the Centre for a further 12 months, we are confident we can secure the other 50% required to enable it to continue to help people to live will with dementia in Droitwich and surrounding areas.
If this funding can be secured this will reduce the anxiety among those who attend the Centre and also its Trustees and contracted staff which comes from uncertainty over its long-term future. This would also assist with recruiting new members to the Centre as if people are not sure how long the Centre will be open for they can be reluctant to attend. This is particularly true for the Family member/carers who do not want to see their loved one settle into the Centre and make new friends and make good emotional, social and practical adjustment to dementia if this is only going to be short lived.