Spring is in the air for our April chat and we had some friends from outside East Lothian come to (virtually) visit!
Alongside familiar friends of Celebrating Communities we welcomed Dementia Friendly Dunblane, and Dementia Friendly Pentlands to remind us that there are other communities exist out there. They have been particularly busy..
We spoke about the similarities in need over the different communities, and how those needs were not always what was first expected. DF Pencaitland noted that one of the most surprising finds was that people were not aware of what support was available, and what they are entitled to.
We also talked about the difficulties of covid stopping things from happening, with resources being cut and projects and services stopped, with nothing to replace them. We agreed that it shouldn’t be the case and that there are ways, as we have all seen, to continue supporting the community in a safe way – we have just needed to think outside the box.
There was a reminder for Health and social care – to not just think about places and environment but people and activities too.
Chloe gave us insight into working in the Borders Hospital – when people are getting discharged they are sad to be going home as they won’t be around people anymore. Not knowing what is available for people to be able to help the transition from hospital to home has made this difficult.
Dunbar network noted they had similar experiences. People who they have been supporting only receive that support from them as community volunteers, and have had no other contact. The support that people have been receiving depends on volunteer activity, with no safety net. As communities it was noted, we have more ability and flexibility to be able to go ahead with activity that services have had to step away from.
However the rules of how a community can work are different in an emergency, and are not sustainable long term. Building community task forces in a safe way with resources, infrastructure, risk assessments etc is one solution for this.
We heard about what others have been up to and how they have managed over the last 12 months..
Dementia Friendly Dunblane told us their story:
“4 years ago we hosted community connections initiatives with soup and cake mornings with an aim to find out what people were up to within the community.
People said they wanted a safe place to meet old and new friends, find out what is going on, and have somewhere to learn about what they are entitled to.
This saw the start of the very popular and successful Memory café in 2017 with people travelling from all over to visit.
There was also a monthly group at local golf club organized to have lunch together and get out and about.
With a fantastic group of volunteers as young as 9 years old! She is an avid fundraiser – making crochet and scrunchies to sell.
After discovering a paid carer services cut, Dementia Friendly Dunblane started a soup and sandwich service, 6.5 thousand deliveries to date! It was free until August, delivering 220 a week!
Door step conversations continued as a popular with people not digitally connected and left out from services.
People wanted fish suppers, so we had 40 delivered a week! One woman living with dementia broke out in broad Aberdonian accent as the smell reminded her of the old factory there… the memory brought daughter to tears.
People were missing baking so made afternoon teas which the school children have then been delivering…
There are also three schools within the area now dementia friendly schools. Letters and art being created by students and sent round to older friends to keep connections and send smiles…”
Wow!! A phenomenal amount of work, by the community and for the community…Inspiring!
All this inspiring work to make us smile, topped off with a sing-along from Elvis…our Seaside Singers April performance – Click below to enjoy 🙂
Our May conversation will be on Thursday 20th May, at 10.30am. Link to register is here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpde6ppjwpGtEOJPVNBzMpM2B69cMg8cOC
We will be joined by Aging Well, Enjoy Leisure, Capital Theatres and others to talk about physical exercise.
As always this will be an open conversation and there will be space to explore topics.
Hope to see you there…