Issue date: 30 November 2012
Professor Richard Cheston, the Chair of Mental Health Research at the University of the West of England is attending Withywood Memory Café from 10:00 – 12:00 on Tuesday 4 December and Fishponds Memory Café from 14:00 – 16:00 on Friday 14 December in Bristol to talk about his research into the emotional difficulties faced by people living with dementia, as well as opportunities to get involved with a local research project on improving memory assessments. The Memory Cafés, run by the charity Alzheimer's Society are free to attend and open to anyone affected by memory problems, either personally, as a carer, a family member or friend.
Professor Richard Cheston, Chair of Mental Health Research from the University of the West of England said “Dementia makes day-to-day life more difficult. Little things like mislaying keys, forgetting to turn off the taps or struggling to find the correct money to pay for shopping can prove frustrating and upsetting but also embarrassing for the person with dementia. For someone with dementia, finding yourself in a situation where you suddenly don't recognise the people around you or even yourself can be incredibly stressful and the result is people avoiding certain situations, such as doing the food shopping, and becoming increasingly isolated.
“My research is looking for ways to better understand the emotional aspects of living with dementia with a view to furthering understanding within our society of what having dementia means and how we can improve the lives of those affected.”
Together with a colleague, Professor Richard Gray, Professor Richard Cheston has been asked to help evaluate some of the changes that are taking place in the way that services for people with dementia and their families in Bristol are organised. Professor Cheston is hoping to encourage people with dementia, their families or friends to get involved in the evaluation. Anyone interested can learn more at the Memory Cafés or contact him directly.
Jonathan Stockwell, Alzheimer's Society Memory Café Coordinator in Bristol, said “There are over 4,300 people living with dementia in Bristol, the most common form of which is Alzheimer's disease. With the right information and support it is possible to live well with dementia. However, we know that for many people with dementia and their carers not only do people face potential battles for a diagnosis and support from the health and social care system, but the everyday things we take for granted – going to the shops, spending time with family and friends, enjoying hobbies are made even more difficult by a lack of understanding of dementia in our communities.
“In April this year we announced the launch of our dementia friendly communities programme which aims to improve understanding of dementia on everyone's part, so I'm really looking forward to hearing what Richard has to say on how we can improve our understanding of the emotional effects of living with dementia.”
There are five Memory Cafés run by Alzheimer's Society in Bristol. These free cafes provide practical information and support on living well with dementia. They provide an opportunity for people with dementia, their families, carers or friends of people with dementia to ask questions and to listen to others' experiences. They also provide an informal and sociable environment in which to learn new skills – such as how to use an IPad, undertake meaningful activities and listen to guest speakers. Attendees can expect to hear from representatives such as the fire service or police on how to remain safe; care homes on what to expect from a care home; or local organisations who can provide advice and support on accessing benefits, appealing funding decisions or accessing support services.
Gillian Hutchinson, aged 77 years old from Redland in Bristol cares for her husband who has dementia and regularly attends the Memory Café in Henleaze. Gillian said “With the information given at the Cafe I have been able to sort out many things which needed doing in the house, for the benefit of my husband. We have used services from Care and Repair, Wellaware, St. Monica's Trust and Dial a Tradesman to adapt our house to his needs.”
The five Alzheimer's Society Memory Cafés take place in Withywood, Bedminster, St. Werburghs, Fishponds and Henleaze every month and are free for anyone affected by memory problems to attend.
Throughout December and January Memory Cafés will be held at the following locations and times:
Alzheimer's Society Memory Cafés are free to attend and places do not have to be booked in advance. If you would like to book in advance or would just like to find out more please contact Jonathan Stockwell on 0117 9610693 or Jonathan.Stockwell@alzheimers.org.uk
If you are interested in being involved in local research and evaluations of the services in Bristol that are offered to people with dementia and their families, then please do contact Professor Richard Cheston on 0117 3288927 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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