Herefordshire Council can announce that Leominster has been selected as the second UK location to pilot a new project aimed at helping those living with dementia.
The MEETINGDEM project is funded by European Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND), the largest global research initiative aimed at tackling the challenge of neurodegenerative diseases, and will run for three years.
The Herefordshire project, which is being run by the University of Worcester in partnership with Herefordshire Council and the Alzheimer’s Society, aims to implement and evaluate the ‘meeting centres support programme’. The programme, which was developed by the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam and has achieved great success in the Netherlands, provides an innovative way of supporting people with mild to moderate dementia and their families through an evidence-based, person-centred approach.
Councillor Patricia Morgan, Cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “I am pleased that Herefordshire has been chosen to pilot this exciting new project; one which has the potential to support and improve the wellbeing of those with a diagnosis of dementia and their families.
“The Leominster meeting centre is due to open in 2016 and is a promising, innovative example of good practice where health and social care organisations alongside volunteers work together to provide comprehensive, cost effective and easy to access support for those with dementia; enabling them to live longer independently with a better quality of life.”
Professor Dawn Brooker, director of association for dementia studies at the University of Worcester, said: “There are over 100 meeting centres in the Netherlands that have demonstrated benefits for people living with dementia, including reducing behavioural and psychological problems and delayed admission into residential care.
“The aim of the local project is to adapt and evaluate the Dutch programme for people with dementia and their families in Herefordshire, as knowing that a service works in one country may not necessarily mean it will work in another. We will spend 18 months establishing the pilot and 12 months running and evaluating a prototype service.”
Kumbi Mandinyenya, operations manager for the Alzheimer’s Society in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and the Black Country, said: “The Alzheimer’s Society is very excited to be involved in this pilot programme, which will offer an integrated approach to support people with dementia and their carers.
“By attending the Leominster meeting centre, people with dementia will have access to therapies and creative and recreational activities, while their carers will be able to attend informative meetings, support groups and learn about coordinating care. With the right support, people with dementia can live well with their condition, which is why it’s so important that we continue to look at and test innovative approaches to care.”