How Social Prescribing Schemes Improve Quality of Life For Dementia Patients
There’s no doubt that how we care for the elderly here in the UK is of huge concern, especially when it comes to the services the UK are able to deliver and the amount of money which is put into social care.
The number of people in the UK suffering from dementia is expected to rise to over a million by 2025. With limited budgets and a fast-growing older population, finding different ways to help improve quality of life has become of high importance.
Social prescribing schemes have started to gain popularity in many parts of the UK, including around Salisbury. At a recent event held by the Prince of Wales, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“There is increasing evidence suggesting music can bring calm to people with dementia by reducing agitation and supporting those affected to cope better with symptoms. This is the kind of personalised care that I fully endorse as a key part of our NHS’ Long Term Plan.”
What is a Social Prescribing Scheme?
Activities, not pills, define social prescribing. Rather than giving medication to dementia patients when it is not the preferred method of treatment, a range of different social activities such as art events, gardening, cookery and even sports can make a big difference to their quality of life and health. These social prescribing activities are currently delivered by a range of community and voluntary organisations.
While they may not help slow down the progress of dementia, these activities have been shown to deliver a range of benefits for the individual. For example, music has been effective in reducing agitation in dementia patients, cutting down the need for medication.
Not all dementia patients are in residential homes – the majority are receiving care in the community or from friends and family. It’s easy for these individuals to become isolated and providing regular activities can certainly help to improve and maintain health and wellbeing.
Social Prescribing at Wessex Care
At Wessex Care, we believe strongly in using all the tools at our disposal to help care for individuals with dementia. It’s not just about monitoring and safeguarding – we want our residents to live their lives as fully as possible. That includes using technology such as iPads to help residents reminisce and working on their cognitive ability. We work with some great local organisations too, including:
- Alive: Their tag line ‘lighting up later life’ says it all. Alive is a charity that not only helps deliver a range of activities but also trains up caregivers. When they come into a residential home, their aim is to improve wellbeing and create a sense of community.
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- Teacher Creatures: Engaging older people who are in care by bringing in a range of different creatures from owls to snakes makes this one of the more unusual social prescribing activities you might find. The charity delivers sessions to over 150 nursing homes and dementia units across the UK.
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We’ve seen at first hand how social prescribing schemes can make a huge difference. We’re always searching for ways to engage with charities and organisations in the local community who can help deliver opportunities like this and enhance the health and wellbeing of those in our care.
If you’d like to find out more or you offer services you think Wessex Care might be able to use, contact us today to find out more.