COVID-19 supportline 0333 005 8735  |
Margaret Underhill wedding day photo with family

The Fremantle Trust is marking Dementia Awareness Week by launching its Bedside Buddies programme to provide specialist 1-1 support for residents living with dementia.

The national awareness week takes place from 14th to 20th May and invites people to come together to enhance understanding of dementia.

According to Alzheimer’s Society, there are currently around 850,000 people in the UK with dementia. It mainly affects people over the age of 65 and the likelihood of developing dementia increases significantly with age.

As a specialist in dementia care, The Fremantle Trust has developed an initiative called Bedside Buddies to support residents who are unable to participate in activities in the main communal areas. Activity organisers spend quality 1-1 time with residents which is devoted to reminiscence work, storytelling and interactive sessions to stimulate memory and encourage communication.

Margaret Underhill, a resident living with dementia at Carey Lodge care home in Wing has received support from the team with the development of a ‘busy box’ to capture personal items and photographs of key milestones in her life. When reviewing wedding photos she was able to recall how she and her friend had made the bridesmaid dresses for her special day, which sparked a nostalgic conversation.

This information is then recorded on a dedicated piece of software called Tangible Memories - a ‘story creation’ app which can then be shared with residents’ families. Margaret’s daughter Debbie Marsh enjoys seeing the updates from the 1-1 sessions as it not only keeps her informed of the support her mother is receiving but is a way of sharing family stories with strong emotional resonance.

Commenting on the initiative, Sue Faulkner, leisure and lifestyle manager at The Fremantle Trust, said:

“We are very passionate about providing person-centred support for people living with dementia and recognise that understanding what makes each person unique is at the root of the care we provide. We draw on the latest insights and research to develop activities and initiatives that encourage positive interaction and reminiscence.

“Our Bedside Buddies scheme has already been really well received by both residents and families and it’s something we’ll look to roll out across our care homes in the region on the back of a successful pilot. We’re really looking forward to celebrating Dementia Awareness Week and shining a light on the services we provide.”