A leading social care charity has helped to pilot a new resource for people with learning disabilities to understand about growing older and the effects of dementia.
Ilford based charity, Vibrance, was approached by the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities to involve a group of service users from Vibrance’s Blue Skies Day Service, in Bow, London to take part in group sessions where they trialed activities which led to the development of a handbook called Talking Together.
The handbook, launched in Dementia Awareness Week (May 20), is designed to help people with learning disabilities experience a greater sense of well-being as they grow older. An important aspect of this is looking at positive ways of supporting people who develop dementia as well as helping friends or housemates living with those with dementia.
Talking Together is comprised of 20 participative activities to talk together, share experiences, and have fun whilst developing understanding, encouraging empathy and active involvement rather than simply giving information.
The activities in the handbook can be used and adapted by anyone wanting to support people with learning disabilities, as they grow older.
Vibrance, supports over 850 adults throughout London and the South East with learning disabilities, autism and mental health needs, offering a range of community services, low-support housing, nursing and care homes, short breaks, supported employment and self-directed services.
Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities Research and Service Development Manager, Christine Towers said: “It was great to work with the people who go to Blue Skies Day Service, we gained new ideas from their involvement and developed activities to respond to their experiences.
“The voices of older people with learning disabilities have helped to shape the final handbook that we produced. We hope the handbook will help people using the service to keep talking about what it’s like growing older and having friends who are living with dementia.”
Paul Allen, Vibrance chief executive, said: “As people with learning disabilities are living longer it’s important to ensure they are receiving the right support at the right age.
“It’s fantastic that our services users have been able to get involved in such an impactful pilot, to empower themselves and help others in the future.”
Find out more about Vibrance at www.vibrance.org.uk