Dementia Support Strategies in NE Essex

Scientists still have lots to learn about the development of dementia in which alas there is currently no cure yet. Instead they are focused on research so that we are better able to prevent or control various aspects of the condition. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that we do know about dementia which will have a significantly positive impact over time especially for someone newly diagnosed. The Tendring Dementia Action Alliance comprises of a number of local organisations around NE Essex dedicated to raising awareness who have adopted a collective Prevent, React and Support strategy as a means to create a dementia friendly community throughout the Tendring peninsula.

  1. Prevent

We do know from extensive research that the key to prevention is to maintain a healthy lifestyle as much as possible in everything we do which is more likely to slow the onset of dementia in any one individual. Of course nothing can be for certain, but through exercise you can reduce the risk of developing dementia by avoiding physical problems that are mostly associated with it, such as heart problems and strokes. Also keeping your mind active will help preserve the brain in good working order for longer.

At Age Concern Colchester and NE Essex we are committed to operating within the two key areas of Health in Body and Health in Mind

Health in Body includes:

  • Avoiding smoking
  • Undertaking regular exercise
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Monitoring Diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol so that both are treated accordingly

Heath in Mind includes:

  • Exercising the mind with hobbies, board games or maybe learn something new
  • Being socially active – attending friendship groups or local activities across the community

In the heart of Colchester we created the Age Concern community hub, know as the Veranda, where we have created a variety of friendship groups and clubs designed around both the Health in Body and Mind ethos. You can see what’s on by consulting the events page on our official website.

Across the Tendring peninsula CVS Tendring’s HILL project clubs provide a perfect environment to develop lifestyle choices for both Health in Mind and Health in Body. They run the Clacton Dementia Cafe which is a friendly place where people with dementia, their families and friends can come and meet. You can access the CVS Tendring Hill Projects here to see what is available across Tendring:

2. React

To tackle Dementia across the country, groups of local organisations have come together to form a Dementia alliance in order to swiftly react to what is a growing number of people in later years developing Dementia related illnesses. By networking local resources, there is a coordinated effort to improve Dementia services, so the community is well prepared in the long run. A Dementia Alliance can plan a set of measures which are applicable to their particular area, also raise awareness with the help of local organisations willing to come on board. Equally this means reflecting upon the issues raised by members of the community which are particularly relevant to them, likewise to highlight aspects of Dementia care which should be provided for everyone when they require it. 

Here in Essex we are all aim to improve awareness about dementia and the deeper understanding of this condition. So we at Age Concern Colchester and NE Essex have been proud to work alongside our partner organisations who are taking a similar approach to us over Dementia action. If we work together we will be better able to understand and learn about Dementia in all its forms and support our community accordingly.

The Tendring Dementia Action Alliance is led by the CEO of Age Concern Colchester and NE Essex, Simon Prestney. If you have any questions for him or would like to get involved you can e-mail him here. [email protected]

3. Support

Once you have received a diagnosis there are lots of organisations in your area ready and willing to support you for the best advice. If there is someone you know newly diagnosed, don’t panic, as there are many options for support. Nobody should feel as if they need to face this situation alone.

  • Talk face to face in a group setting or over an internet forum with people who have had similar experiences of dementia. There may be some dementia groups in your area you could join for guidance and reassurance from people who have had similar experiences to you.
  • Consult with GPs, counsellors and other health professionals (e.g. dementia specialist nurse, occupational therapist). Web sites will have up to date information on NHS services which support Dementia patients.
  • Home adaptions – Use of equipment around the home so one can live independently for as long as possible. This can include modifications of existing infrastructure to accommodate those with Dementia.

Here are some handy websites related to Dementia Support

North East Essex NHS Commissioning Group: Dementia Support Page

Alzheimers Society: Dementia Talking Point – our online community

Alzheimers Society: 10 Ways to make your home Dementia Friendly

The John Ford Group specialises in the adaptation of houses to make living at home easier for the frail, elderly and those with disabilities

Alzheimers Society: Search Engine to find support near you