Meeting Centres go live for those living with dementia in North Tyneside
Life-changing centres where people living with Dementia and their families can receive vital support are set to appear in the North East for the first time.
Age UK North Tyneside has announced, days before the start of Dementia Action Week (17-23 May), it will open two Dementia Meeting Centres, offering individually-tailored, expert-led support to people affected by the condition.
Research has shown Meeting Centres have a hugely positive impact. Statistics show that after attending people living with the condition were happier, and families felt more able to look after their loved ones.
Kirsty De Bono-Hume, one of the charity’s seven Dementia-specialist Admiral Nurses and the Centres’ ‘lead’, can’t wait for them to open in July. She hopes the Centres will be the first of many.
She said: “The idea is to bring together the people affected by Dementia and support them through what can be a very difficult process.
“The Meeting Centres will provide an inclusive, warm and enjoyable environment to support both people with Dementia alongside their family carers.
“Activities will reflect the interests of the members and will promote practical, emotional and social adjustments, and there will always be Dementia specialists on hand to provide information and advice.
“There is nothing else like this in the North East and we think it is going to have a massive impact on people in the community.
“We are starting with two centres initially, but ideally would have more spread across North Tyneside in future.”
There are around 3000 people over 65 living with Dementia across North Tyneside. The condition is listed as the biggest cause of death in the UK.
Age UK North Tyneside’s Dementia Connections team currently supports almost 400 living with dementia each month.
During the pandemic it has kept in touch with customers via telephone, Zoom and Facetime, while also providing essential home visits.
The idea for Meeting Centres originated in the Netherlands, where there are now hundreds dotted across the country.
Despite their success in Europe, they are still uncommon in the UK.
Greg Lambert, Head of Community and Enterprise at Howden Hub, is pleased to be helping to bring the Meeting Centres to people in North Tyneside.
He said: “Everybody knows someone who has been affected by Dementia in some way, so to have a service like this operating is absolutely essential.
“My Nan suffered with it so I know the toll Dementia can take on people living with it and their families; this will be a vital support for them.
“My family didn’t have anything like this available to them and I wish we had, it’s a fantastic idea and I’m proud the sessions will be running from Howden Hub.
“The centre is here for the community, and this is something the community really needs.”
To find out more about the centres, call 0191 2877014 .