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Reaching out to Dementia Sufferers: Sporting Memories Network

More than half of people with dementia (54 per cent) were no longer taking part in any social activities, or hardly any, a survey of sufferers found earlier this year.

Almost half (48 per cent) said that what would help them most to stay connected was seeing family and friends more often, and having someone to help them take part in activities and hobbies (51 per cent). The Alzheimer’s Society survey highlighted the importance of meaningful activities for those who are living with dementia. 

Kathryn Smith, its head of operations, says: “Taking part in meaningful activities can have a powerful and positive impact on a person with dementia. A meaningful activity is based on the person’s abilities and choices, and is often linked to the hobbies or interests they enjoyed before their diagnosis- for example, gardening, cooking and painting. 

“Losing interest in thinks that a person once enjoyed is one of the warning signs of dementia, so finding suitable activities that maintain the connection with their interests can have a profound effect on their wellbeing. Friends, family and carers also find that sharing in activities with a person with dementia can help them to maintain a close relationship.” 

A decade ago the report Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing in Later Life, published by Age concern (now known as Age UK) and the Mental Health Foundation, highlighted the issue. It said: “Participation in meaningful activity, staying active and having a sense of purpose are just as important for the mental health and wellbeing of older people as they are for younger people. Yet older people face barriers to participation in many areas of public and private life.” 

Today, many projects and schemes are run across the UK to provide a variety of interests and activities for those who live with dementia. One that’s recently been introduced is the Alzheimer’s Society’s Side by Side project. Says Kathryn Smith: “Side by Side volunteers enable people with dementia to continue to do the things they love, and are matched with people based on their common interests. Meaningful activities can help a person with dementia stay connected to everyday life and help preserve independence, dignity and self-esteem.” 

Other schemes are now very established, but new ideas are developing all the time.

Continue Reading to find out about the imaginative projects that are helping those around the UK who are living with dementia

For more details about the Sporting Memories Network go to: www.sporting

Is someone in your life living with dementia? Have you found any of these projects helpful? 

Let us know what you think and share your experiences with us and others. Just follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, Instagram and YouTube


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