The Wheathampstead Dementia Wellbeing Group
We are planning a visit to Bletchley Park – tbc
We run a club every first and third Wednesday in the month in the Mead Hall from 10:30 – 12:00 for those living with dementia and their carers.
Club members choose which outings they should like to go on. Currently we aim to have an outing about every other month.
Who are we? We are here to support and help people living with dementia and their carers.
As you will know dementia is generally age related; we are living longer and consequently the incidence of dementia has been increasing. This is causing the Government concern and a national campaign has been launched to make communities ‘Dementia Aware and Friendly’ as well as offering advice and support to those living with dementia and their carers.
The Wheathampstead Dementia Wellbeing Group (‘WDWG’) is run by a committee of local people and chaired by Paul Millac, a retired Neurologist. Funded by our Parish and District and working in association with the Wheathampstead Friends (WF), the Wheathampstead Patient Participation Group (WPPG), the Manor Pharmacy and the Village Surgery, significant progress has been achieved.
Over the past few years, we have organised several interactive dementia awareness sessions for all sectors of our community, including schools, and have created many ‘Dementia Friends’. We have a telephone helpline in place and a support session for carers and people living with dementia, in the Mead Hall on the first and third Wednesdays of the month (10.30 to 12 pm). Refreshments, lively conversation and outings (e.g. to garden centres, pubs and other places of interest) take place and we have over 20 regular visitors. We are always open to new members.
Our aim is principally to overcome the stigma of dementia. Encouraging a timely diagnosis will enable treatment to be given before irreversible damage occurs. Plans for the future can be made. Much support is available locally and we seek to draw this together to answer commonly asked questions below. Ultimately, your feedback will reveal the adequacy of that support and how care providers compare. Meantime, we hope our community will be better able to understand the problems faced by people with dementia and to help them and their carers cope with this devastating illness.
WHAT IS DEMENTIA?
Dementia is brain failure caused by a variety of conditions and is mostly age-related. Early signs are changes in behaviour, confusion and memory loss.
IF A MEMBER OF MY FAMILY IS EXCESSIVELY FORGETFUL WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Make an early appointment to see your GP (Village Surgery 01582 832258). He/she will carry out a blood test and basic memory assessment. If there is reason for concern, referral to a Memory Clinic may be made where more detailed tests can be carried out.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
EMDASS (Early Memory Diagnosis and Support Services) will tell you about help immediately available, arrange home visits by a social worker and occupational therapist and advise on benefits.
CAN DEMENTIA BE TREATED?
Yes, in a minority of cases, depending on the cause. In other instances dementia can be slowed and sometimes improved.
ARE THERE AIDS TO MAKE LIVING AT HOME EASIER?
Yes, there are many, such as walking frames, commodes, wheel chairs, stair lifts, etc. Available from the Woodside Centre (01707 384260), Welwyn Garden City, near the QEII Hospital. They also do driving assessments, visual and hearing tests, by appointment.
AS A CARER, WHERE COULD I FIND SUPPORT?
The ‘Wheathampstead Dementia Wellbeing Coffee Club’ at the Mead Hall every 1st and 3rd Wednesday, 10.30 to 12 pm, Wheathampstead Friends (01582 833788), Carers in Herts (01992 586969), Herts Help (0300 123 4044), Alzheimers Society 01727 378365. Age UK 0300 345 3446/01707 323272
I WOULD LOVE AN HOUR OR TWO TO MYSELF
Breakaway (01442 454280) and Crossroads (01462 455578) provide ‘sitters’.
A BREAK FOR A WEEK OR TWO (RESPITE CARE)
Can be arranged by a social worker at Willow Court Nursing Home, Harpenden, Field House, Harpenden, Tara’s Retreat, Lyndon House or St Christopher’s Nursing Home.
WHAT IF LONGER TERM CARE WAS NEEDED?
There are good nursing homes in Sandridge, Harpenden, St Albans and Hatfield able to cope with dementia.
WHERE CAN I GET ADVICE ABOUT INCONTINENCE?
The Adult Bladder and Bowel Service at Harpenden Memorial Hospital (01582 760196)
HOW CAN I GET TO THE VILLAGE SURGERY OR HOSPITAL FOR APPOINTMENTS, EVEN IF I HAVE A WHEELCHAIR?
Wheathampstead Community Group have a team of volunteer drivers prepared to take you to and from appointments, at a nominal cost. Phone Ann Rudeforth on 01582 833186.
CAN I GET HELP AT HOME?
Care can be arranged by the NHS (means tested) via your social worker or by private organisations, such as Helping Hands (08483 634 6896), Home Instead (01727 895941), or Mears Care (01707 294700) and others.
WHAT SUITABLE RECREATION IS AVAILABLE WITHIN THE VILLAGE?
‘Coffee in the Chancel’ at St Helen’s Church (01582 834031 9 to 11.30 am Mondays to Wednesdays and Saturday mornings during term time. Dogs welcomed and wheelchair friendly.
ARE THERE MATTERS TO CONSIDER FOR THE FUTURE?
Everyone should have a Will and consider Lasting Power of Attorney. The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) will always advise. They have an office in St Albans (for booking) with sessions at the Memorial Hall on Thursday mornings, 10 am to 12 pm (01727 811118 for an appointment or drop in).
CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT DEMENTIA, ITS CAUSES AND CURRENT RESEARCH?
The Alzheimer’s Society website is excellent and they have a national helpline (0300 222 1122 and website Alzheimers.org.uk). Local Office 01727 812035
USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS
Paul Millac 01582 834490 (Helpline for Carers of people living with dementia
Margaret Carter 01582 832638 (Helpline and Dementia Club)
Isobel Poole 01582 832439 (General Information/Dementia Club)
Wheathampstead Friends Administrator James Finlay (01582 833788)
Last Updated 11.05.2017