Dementia Forward believe they have found a progressive and pro-active model to support over 300 people with young onset dementia across North Yorkshire. It is not a one size fits all service – they aim to fill the gaps.
They look at the bigger picture as well as the detail. Support starts with their team of Dementia Care Co-ordinators working alongside the NHS in each area of the county. They help to find people who may otherwise slip through the cracks and they are able to offer pre-diagnosis support.
People referred to Dementia Forward are allocated a specialist Dementia Support Advisor who assesses their immediate needs such as financial and legal advice and forward planning. They support and signpost their clients to appropriate services and continue an on-going relationship, promoting independence, wellbeing, peer support and education.
They have a helpline with staff ready to take calls throughout the day and run a number of groups that are specific to the needs of their young onset clients. One successful group is called ‘The Time Out Together’ group, which they refer to affectionately as ‘TOTs’. The group also offers respite to family carers but more importantly, TOTs is an outward bound day of activity for those who attend, with activities ranging from walking and cycling to museum visits. They have run their award-winning TOTs group in the Harrogate area for nine years and are pleased to now be able to offer it in two more areas of North Yorkshire thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund.
They have recently begun a programme of venue-based activity and peer groups for people with young onset dementia. These groups are held at their hubs, which are located across the county of North Yorkshire and are ideal for people who benefit more from place-based support. In order to provide as many opportunities as possible, they are creating close links with local organisations offering volunteering or befriending opportunities and with care organisations in their community, a local care home and a developer to ensure that appropriate residential and respite care is available.
They are proud of their active and responsive approach to support and consider themselves ‘professionals with heart!’ They are looking forward to a social evening in June 2022 where they will attempt to draw everyone they support together across the whole county. At this event, they will begin their campaign work to ignite awareness of young onset dementia, starting with a powerful photography project.
Dementia Forward is North Yorkshire’s leading support charity for people living with and affected by dementia providing a lifeline to over 6,000 people through their local helpline, dementia specialist support team and community wellbeing services.