We previously reported that due to the early termination of funding, our Kensal Green Dementia Café would be closing at the end of May. Fortunately we have been able to extend the Kensal Green Café, which will now run until Friday 27th September. If you would like any further details, please contact Lynn Burling, Dementia Café Project Manager on 0208 968 8170 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are planning to expand our timetable of groups & activities and would like to know what older people in Brent would like to see on offer. Perhaps you would like to learn French, join a book club or play Bridge? Complete our short survey here and help us shape our future offering!
In January 2018, thanks to funding from Wembley National Stadium Trust and The Aziz Foundation, Elders Voice began to deliver a one year pilot study project named Yoga Connects: Battling Dementia and Celebrating Life with Yoga. 45 weekly classes took place at Elders Voice in Kensal Green with short breaks in between to account for holiday and festive periods. In total, 53 people took part in this pilot project throughout the whole year.
Statistical data has been obtained in two ways. Three questionnaires were handed out to participants and/or their immediate carers/relatives. In situations where we couldn’t obtain relatives’ feedback, care workers were asked for help. The care workers’ feedback was subjective and based on their observations over the course of the year. The first questionnaire helped us establish a starting point for each client, in terms of their mental and physical health, so we could compare future findings with earlier data and track our clients’ progress.
The subjects of this study were older people, people with dementia and Alzheimer’s, older people recovering from stroke, herniated disc, and other health related issues. Each participant was 50+. The majority of participants were existing clients who spend between 1-3 days at our Day Centre. The remaining percentage of participants included older people from local Brent communities, as well as their relatives/carers and our staff.
The main purpose of this study was to look for a link between participation in socio-physical activities and the possible positive effects it might have on older people’s lives, more precisely, we were looking for signs of improvement in their mental and physical wellbeing.
We anticipated an overall reduction of stress by 50%. After 3 months participant’s stress levels had been reduced by 75% and after 12 months participant’s stress levels had been reduced by 83%. This is a significant reduction – 33% more than we were anticipating.
Increase of wellbeing by 50% – the figure we were anticipating to see.
Improvement in body strength by 66% after 12 months of participation, in comparison to 50% after 3 months of participation. Here we saw a 16% rise which is less than we were expecting, however we remain positive as the overall increase is a significant one.
Improved physical functions by 41% after 12 months, in comparison to 33% after 3 months. Here we saw a small but again significant increase of 8%. Overall we had hoped to see a 60% improvement or more.
Increased social interaction by 91% after 12 months, in comparison to 66.6% after 3 months. Here we saw a dramatic increase, that exceeded our expectations. This is a fantastic result!
We have observed an interesting new trend. Immediate carers/relatives found our classes to be a great gateway from stress associated with caring. We’ve been told, that allowing carers to take part in this project helped them relax, allowed them to channel their frustrations and worries and brought them closer to the person they care for, as they now had a shared experience to talk about. Due to the positive feedback we received from a number of carers/relatives, all classes were opened to accommodate this new group of participants, to huge success. All classes were free to attend by clients already accessing Elders Voice services. Then, to attract other older people in the community and to manage the numbers effectively, we decided to put in place a loyalty system encouraging people to commit to long-term attendance. By doing that we encouraged participants from the community to assist us with our study. The full results are available here.
We cannot stress enough the importance of including older people socially; creating opportunities for social interaction and encouraging individuals to take part. Our observations have gone above and beyond what we expected and an example of this is Mr C, a gentleman who has an advanced stage dementia. Mr C’s speech and cognitive abilities were minimal in January 2018. To support that statement, Mr C used to stand at the front of the Yoga class with his hands held up for the duration of the session. He was unresponsive to the facilitator’s suggestion of taking a seat. His presence was accepted by the rest of the class and by no means was his freedom to interpret the Yoga in his own way limited. Only in the fourth month of delivery did Mr C begin to sit down on his own accord. He started to approach people in the group, and talk English more often than his mother tongue which is Italian. As a result of the group’s acceptance, the experience of our facilitators and giving Mr C space to express himself freely, his persona was effected in an extremely positive way. Moreover, his and his family’s quality of life improved.
Reading poetry aloud to people with dementia can have a positive impact on their mental wellbeing. It can improve mood, encourage social interaction, unearth lost memories and spark imagination. We have enjoyed ‘shared reading’ sessions at our own dementia cafés and our clients even wrote some of their own poems. We started them off with a simple exercise: write down the name of your favourite place, colour, flower and season and a feeling or emotion. For example: Spain, green, tulips, summer and joy. Then build a poem around these words. Check out some of our clients’ poems below!
La Brea by A Trinidian
La Brea is the place of my birth
I always think of La Brea and the blue sea
Blue is my favourite colour and I think of
when I was a child and going for a swim
Summer is lovely, bright and hot
With all the pink coronation flowers
I pick for mother
It’s good to be home when I can swim
In that lovely, blue sea
Bluebells by A Londoner
I walked through London parks the other day
I looked up and all seemed blue
With beautiful bluebells on the ground around
I felt the sadness as the day came to a close Read More
We regret to announce that due to the early termination of funding, our Kensal Green Dementia Café will be ending on Friday 31st May. Our Kingsbury Dementia Café at Hay Lane which takes place on Wednesday afternoons will continue. If you would like any further details, please contact Lynn Burling, Dementia Café Project Manager on 0208 968 8170 or email: email@example.com.
Elders Voice has been awarded £40,000 from one of the UK’s largest charitable funders. The funding will enable us to buy a brand new van for our Handyperson service. The Garfield Weston Foundation says small community charities are rising to the challenge of facing unprecedented demand for their services by being proactive and innovative.
The Weston Anniversary Fund was launched earlier this year to provide funding to charities to improve their existing facilities or provide new ones as part of the Foundation’s 60th year. The Trustees took the decision to more than double the fund after receiving over 2,300 applications, with over 60% from charities that have never applied to them before.
Jenny Davison, Chief Executive of Elders Voice says:
“Many thanks to the Garfield Weston Foundation. This funding will enable us to run the Handyperson service – a very popular and essential service in the borough – in a more efficient way. We shall be able to reduce our waiting list and make the service more responsive to peoples’ needs.”Read More