Carers in Bedfordshire - Promoting and maintaining mobility for people with dementia.
In normal circumstances, Carers in Bedfordshire would offer face-to-face services, offering information and support, specialist expertise and social opportunities to people with dementia and their carers. During the pandemic this support has had to continue by phone and online.
Over the long period of isolation the team heard how lockdown had dramatically accelerated the deterioration of dementia, due to reduced levels of physical activity, reduced social contact and mental stimulation. The impact has been people showing mood changes, reduced mobility and increased memory problems.
People with dementia are classed as being in the very high risk group for COVID-19 and as a result both them and their carers continue to remain at home even as the lockdown restrictions lift and this continues to have a significant impact in their physical activity levels.
Services that encourage and support physical and mental activity help to slow the deterioration of dementia. As a result of our funding work and support, Carers in Bedfordshire were awarded just over £600 to provide an activity programme throughout August, which involved a variety of options that will help their community stay physically and mentally active at home.
The activities were led by the Dementia Carers team, supported by volunteers and external suppliers where necessary and involved:
• Weekly online activity sessions which consisted of sessions with a physiotherapist who specialises in working with people with dementia or 'armchair yoga' with a yoga instructor. Around 12 people per week are attending these sessions and feedback from participants was positive:
"That was a really good session for Mum. Can you let me know if you will do this weekly as she would like to continue!"
• Physiotherapy consultations by phone. A specialist physiotherapist offered advice about specific mobility problems faced by the person with dementia and recommend exercises to help. Through these consultations, carers have learnt how to help their loved ones exercise safely at home, encouraging them to be more active:
"A gentleman who is not motivated to exercise but does enjoy being in the garden has been given exercises that he can do outdoors."
• Weekly Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) via weekly online groups and worksheets via the post/email. CST uses activities such as reminiscence, puzzles and games that keep the brain active. It helps people live well with dementia and is recommended by the NHS for improving memory, problem solving skills and language ability.
"It gives us communication. We know somebody's there. It gives us the satisfaction to know we can do this"
- Older People
- People with long term health conditions
The results - in pictures
An example of a online zoom session by Nadia their Mobility Physio. (image credit Carers in Bedfordshire)