Oakham workshops help build confidence in people living with a dementia diagnosis
Rutland residents living with a dementia diagnosis are invited to take part in a series of workshops designed to rebuild their confidence and help them focus on what can be achieved, instead of what has been lost.
Delivered by specialists in a peaceful and comfortable environment, the free of charge workshops take place at Oakham Castle.
The programme, which started last month, consists of 12 sessions which have been broken into two series of six each.
The initiative has been made possible thanks to Rutland County Council’s health and wellbeing programme and Rutland Community Ventures, an Oakham-based not-for-profit media and events production company. Tony Gray, a director at Rutland Community Ventures, said a two week break later this month after the first six workshops would allow time to evaluate the programme and adapt it where needed.
He said that more than half of the 15 people or so people who had attended so far live with a dementia diagnosis. Evidence shows that workshops like this can slow down the progress of their disease and this is particularly true of younger people who are usually physically stronger and more resilient.
The workshops are designed to help participants rebuild confidence in their ability to be active in the community and focus on what they can achieve.
“We have one man who said that he would never have believed in a million years that he would get involved in something like this but is now loving it,” said Tony. “It is having a very positive effect.”
Participants are given the chance to make new memories, engage in new and fulfilling experiences and meet new people.
Tony said that since they began in early January, the workshops had been well attended.
“When it comes to dementia many people have the image of an old person sitting in a care home, but in reality it affects a much broader range of the population and many people are being looked after at home by their partner,” he said. “These are the hard to reach people and the ones we are trying to get to come to the workshops.”
Activities take place in a friendly and accessible space, and participants are supported by carers and experienced volunteers.
Research and experience has found that engagement in music, spoken and written word, dance and movement and 2D and 3D art is most likely to have a positive impact on a dementia-affected person so the sessions are focused on these areas.
They include printing, ceramics, music-making, movement and storyboarding.
The impact of the workshops is being evaluated and each session is videoed. The resulting short film is given to participants to stimulate their memory of the activity and so build a sense of achievement as they witness their own successful involvement.
The videos also provide a valuable record of how the participants’ mood, communication with others and engagement with the activities changes from week to week.
The workshops take place on Tuesday mornings and end on February 12 before starting again for a further six weeks on March 5.
Interested parties can find out more at www.rutlandcommunityventures.uk or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
More by this authorAndrew Stone