The Corstorphine Dementia Project are a community-based charity that offers day services to people living with dementia in Corstorphine and its surrounding area. The project has over 30 years of knowledge and experience in supporting people with all types and stages of dementia.
The project normally offers social opportunities through The Jubilee Club and twice-monthly Teatime Club. However, since the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) they, like many others, have adapted their model of care to safeguard the health and safety of its members and the wider community. All face-to-face activities have been replaced by remote communication but this hasn’t affected the dedication or creativity of the whole team. Below are some of the new initiatives the team have devised and introduced.
More information can be found on their website.
To support members and allay some concerns the team have produced a dementia friendly COVID-19 factsheet which will highlight basic non-alarmist facts and give some reassurance. These will be laminated, and carers will be asked to position prominently in the member’s house from 11th May onwards.
Keeping members connected and engaged:
Weekly phone calls with carers and families to understand the depth of support needed. This has not only shed light onto further support that would be beneficial but strengthened relationships and bonds too.
Engaging phone calls to members – the support worker team have been finding new ways to keep their individual 8 to 10 members supported and engaged daily; incorporating word games, puzzles and playing pieces of music down the phone nominated by other members.
Increased frequency of letter writing to members – staff remain in contact with members by writing letters and have increased the frequency as feedback from carers has been so positive. It’s apparent that being able to physically hold onto an item or have it within reach prompts members to read it throughout the day, giving them a lot of pleasure.
With the above in mind, and in place of sending activity packs, the team have decided to produce a fortnightly newspaper called The Jubilee Gazette. It brings members good news stories, crosswords, puzzles, horoscopes, poems, birthday announcements etc. As many of the members recognise the staff this could really help with familiarisation and prompt memories of happier times at the Jubilee Club.
Expanding their network:
The staff plan to draw upon their large contingent of volunteers, many of whom are offering to help in any way they can. The goal is to match volunteers to member whom they are familiar with. This will then generate a pool of volunteer to make social phone calls and write letters to members, in addition to the input from support workers.
Eilidh Waugh, Project Manager for the Corstorphine Dementia Project reflects on what has been a very challenging but rewarding time:
“Like many other organisations we found ourselves in unknown territory when the COVID-19 outbreak effected our usual support services and were forced to rethink our strategy. Our response to this has been driven by the dedication and willingness of an amazing team of staff. They have drawn upon their wealth of experience, innovative practice and enthusiasm to ensure that our members continue to receive support and comfort throughout these difficult times. We will listen to them, their carers and families and work our way through this together looking forward to the day when we can meet again at the Jubilee Club.”
Feedback from carers in the community has helped keep the team going:
“Thanks for all your hard work over the past few weeks. Your care has been exemplary. Keep up the good work in these difficult times. Thank you very much on behalf of mum and myself”
“The daily calls and support are a lifeline for my mum. And we are so grateful that you are able to provide this for your members”
“Can I please say a great big thank you to you and your staff for the wonderful support they are giving the Jubilee Club members as well as their families and carers during this strange time we find ourselves in.
“I’d like to thank you all for your continued support to both myself and my Uncle Jimmy at this difficult time. He loves getting his chatty phone calls and was delighted to receive your letter with his photo! He has pinned it on the wall and shows all his carers”