Today we hear from Caroline Gerrard the Fundraising and Communications Manager at Peaceful Place in Rochford, Essex. Caroline has been involved in the Challenge Dementia prize from the start and tells us a bit about why it is so important.
Peaceful Place was established in 1996 to meet the specific needs of people in south-east Essex under the age of 65 living with young onset dementia. Our day centre offers a wide range of mentally, physically and socially stimulating activities to its members including regular outings to ensure our members maintain social contact with their local community. At the same time members families and carers benefit from valuable respite, allowing them to continue to work, care for children or rest and support their loved ones through the huge impact that dementia has on the whole family.
By bringing people together in a safe and supportive environment who could otherwise be very isolated, we promote social inclusion and provide an opportunity for vulnerable people to experience the normal social contact that we all enjoy.
Peaceful Place is really pleased to be involved in the Essex Challenge Prize, enabling our members to help others to understand what it is like living with dementia through the focus groups they have taken part in. It has shown our members that people are really trying to understand the needs of people living with dementia and the obstacles they face on a daily basis.
This is particularly true for our members that attend our day centre who have received a diagnosis at a younger age. Our members are between the ages of 40 and 65 and a diagnosis at this age can be devastating. Many are still working, have young children and financial commitments so it is vital to their wellbeing and that of their families that they receive as much appropriate support as possible.
Our members tell us that it is the social interaction at our day centre which they particularly enjoy and helps them to maintain their identity. For someone living with dementia, trying to maintain their independence in their own homes and communities can present many challenges as their condition progresses so any support that can be provided through new innovative products and services specifically for those living with dementia is a huge positive step forward.