Creating Helensburgh’s new DRC (part 4)

The long-awaited official opening of the new Helensburgh Dementia Resource Centre took place on Friday 22nd January allowing us to finally offer the facilities and space which we have recognised as being needed in order to best serve people with dementia in our local community.

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Alzheimer Scotland in Helensburgh has come a long way from our small beginnings in our previous Resource Centre which allowed us to establish ourselves as an organisation within the local community and to grow both in size and reputation over the past five years. We aimed to provide a new Resource Centre which would enable easier access to information and advice for people with dementia, their family carers and the local community in which all those people live.

In addition we sought to provide better opportunities for all those living with dementia to engage in activities which will stimulate the brain, reduce isolation and enable them to support each other.  The new premises provide us with flexible space which is already being used creatively to provide Cognitive Stimulation Therapy Groups; Book Groups; Reminiscence Groups including the well-loved Football Memories and Peer Support Groups. In addition, Carers and Relatives are able to engage in a number of Carers’ Support Groups which are offered both during the day and in the evening and provide a tremendous opportunity for people who care for a relative or friend with dementia to share experiences and to help each other generate solutions to particular difficulties they may be facing.


The centre is also the base for a Home Support Service which provides personalised care to people living with dementia, promoting their independence and enabling them to keep connected with their community.


Another opportunity which we are keen to maximise is that of providing training and awareness about dementia and the new premises, which includes a well-equipped training room, is the ideal venue. Our intention is to offer dementia awareness sessions to staff and volunteers both from within our own organisation and from other local care providers and also to host Dementia Friends sessions to the wider community, helping everyone to see the difference which small changes made by individuals can make to the overall experience of living with dementia.

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It is our hope that the new Dementia Resource Centre located right in the heart of Helensburgh will help to support the local community to talk about dementia and that people will be helped to live well with dementia.


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There is still time to get involved in our new centre, contact us for more information on volunteering and fundraising


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A snapshot of what an allied health professional can do for you

 “People with dementia will have the opportunity to be included in community life and meaningful activities as they wish.  All services will give people with dementia the support they need, wherever they are living, to continue to be involved in their ordinary activities such as exercise, involvement in music, dance, social events and religious activity and to become involved in new activities and experiences”

This is a direct quote from the Standards of Care for Dementia in Scotland (2011) and reminds us all that people with dementia can be involved in everyday activities, both old and new.


The standard also states “services will give people with dementia the support they need”. In Scotland we invited my allied health professionals colleagues to share with us what they can do to support someone with dementia.  In this blog I am sharing a “snapshot” of how 5 of the allied health professions describe their role when working with people with dementia and their carers, partners and families.

Who are we?

Allied health professionals are registered therapists who can help when people are worried about their memory, if a person has a diagnosis of dementia or if someone in the family has dementia. They offer information, advice and treatment tailored to individual needs. They are experts in rehabilitation, focusing on strengths and assisting people to stay connected to their community and remain in their home for as long as possible. In no more than 50 words this is what they say they can do for you if you have a diagnosis of dementia or are caring for someone with dementia:

  • Dietitian – will help you to eat well
  • Occupational therapist – will help you take part in social activities, hobbies and interests that are important to you.
  • Physiotherapist – will help with physical activity
  • Podiatrists – will help you look after your feet
  • Speech and language therapists – will help you maintain everyday conversations


How can a dietitian help?

A dietitian can assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual level.  Uniquely, they use the most up to date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical advice to help people make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.


How can an occupational therapists help?

The occupational therapist can help people to continue to do as much as they can in their daily lives, offering strategies to allow people to participate in social activities, hobbies and interests that are important to them. They understand the link between occupation and good health. They can advise people on small changes to the home environment to make life easier, recommending the right type of equipment to meet a person’s needs from memory equipment to kitchen equipment.


How can a physiotherapist help?

A physiotherapist can help if the person has difficulties with walking; experiencing falls or feel they are unable to access the activities they enjoy.   They can provide the person with advice on, or offer an exercise programme to improve strength and balance, equipment to help walking and help with accessing community services.


How can a podiatrist help?

Healthy, pain free feet are important in maintaining mobility and enabling people to engage in a range of activities and be an active member of the community. NHS Podiatry services are available for people who have a foot problem or have a medical condition requiring podiatric intervention. (Personal foot care such as toenail cutting is not provided by NHS Podiatry services).


How can a speech and language therapist help?

Speech and language therapists are experts in communication and interaction and help people who have difficulty with everyday conversations. They are also experts in eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties. The speech and language therapist’s aim is always to enable a person to participate to their full potential in their chosen activities.

We are collating this information, with a description of how to access these professions into a leaflet that will be available in the Alzheimer Scotland resources centres, on our mini bus, available from our link workers and will be in our offices throughout Scotland.  However we are really interested to know, when living with dementia or caring for someone with dementia “what matters to you and how can we help?”

Elaine HunterElaine Hunter
Allied Health Professional Consultant, Alzheimer Scotland

My remit in Alzheimer Scotland is to bring the skills of AHPs to the forefront of dementia practice and to share with them the principles and practice of working in a major charity that is dedicated to “making sure nobody faces dementia alone”. I am leading the delivery of commitment 4 of Scotland’s Dementia Strategy. In short, a great job working with great people.