A son who’s been attending Pendleside Hospice’s Living with Dementia sessions with his mum has explained the impact the weekly visit has made.
Masood Aziar, 38, is sole carer for his mum Belqees Akbar, 67, who was diagnosed with dementia three years ago and lives alone in Briercliffe.
After being referred to the Living with Dementia programme by his mum’s social worker, Masood has attended each of the 12 weekly sessions with his mum
Masood explained the change in his mum has been clear to see.
“Everything about this place is brilliant, it’s so homely and the staff are just unreal. We’ve made a lot of friends by coming here each week and for me, it’s just reminded me that I’m not on my own in caring for my mum.
“Being a carer for someone with dementia can be a very lonely place but these weekly visits have assured me I’m doing the right thing and my mum’s face lights up every time we come.”
The programme of 12 weekly sessions has been developed using cognitive stimulation therapy as the basis of the six-week timetable, including different activities such as singing and music, complementary therapies, reminiscence and creativity.
Katie Owen, occupational therapist at Pendleside Hospice’s day services department, explained that all activities are designed to be beneficial to each group member.
“We want each element of the course to be purposeful and meaningful. For example, we use a conversation ball and pass it around for people to share their memories and get to know each other. This also provides an opportunity for the staff to get to know each patient and their family.
“We also serve lunch in the dining room, to promote the feeling of ‘being out for the day’ and to encourage patients and their families to chat to others at the table over lunch. During the morning session there’s time to socialise followed by some light exercise – we’ve done everything from Tai Chi to Bollywood dancing.
“It’s just lovely to see smiles on the faces of our patients and their families and friends who come along with them – it’s like one big happy family. Everyone gets a goody bag at the end of the 12 weeks to help signpost them onto what they’d like to try next.”
Living with Dementia runs at Pendleside Hospice every Tuesday and Friday, 11am – 2pm. The programme is made up of 12 weekly sessions and the hospice has a new intake every six weeks.
Patients can be referred by a GP or other health professional. They can also be self-referred – to do this, please join us at a drop-in session every Wednesday from 12pm until 3.30pm.
To find out more about the Living with Dementia sessions, please call day services at Pendleside Hospice on 01282 440100.