Peaceful Place – Specialist care and support for younger people and their families living with dementia
Early onset dementia or working age dementia as it is sometimes called refers to a progressive degeneration of the brain before the age of 65.
It is a sobering thought that in Essex almost 21,000 people suffer from the de-habilitating effects of dementia, of which 440 are younger people aged between 45 and 65 have been identified. It is a recognised fact that there are a significant number of younger people with dementia who, due to high rates of divorce, separation, family mobility or choice, live alone.
The Peaceful Place is a unique, well established and very active local charity created in 1996 to cater for the very specialised needs of active members of the community diagnosed with young onset dementia.
Initially Peaceful Place was open just 1 day a week and had 3 members. We are now open 5 days a week at St.Lukes Place in Rochford and have 13 members registered with us.
Since the beginning The Peaceful Place has been a strong, user led charity committed to enhancing the quality of life of our clients, their carers and their families. Our emphasis has always been on valuing the individual and his or her needs and wants – this is reflected in the high ratio of staff and volunteers we have thus enabling us to offer a more personalised level of care. The important thing we have to remember is that younger clients need to feel validated and included in setting the agenda in terms of activities planned. They may have recently come from positions of responsibility at work and still need to feel in control of their own situation.
It is crucial that all people with dementia are assured of the continuing recognition of them as “complete persons” with their own responsibilities, life experiences, strengths and abilities, likes and dislikes and unique lifestyles. Special consideration is given to our client group when planning their care.
We have always maintained that the benefits of the service we provide are two fold!
The primary aim is to offer specialised day care is to stimulate the mental, physical and social skills of its members by providing a wide range of recreational activities.
We believe that it is vital that we actively encourage our members to maintain contact with the community in which they live, and achieve this by using our minibus to take our members out on day trips and to venues of their choosing.
Its secondary aim is to give respite to the carers. Caring for some-one with dementia is both emotionally and physically demanding. In a younger person where physical strength, energy and vigour are often very much present this can cause particular problems as the physical strength may be divorced from clear thinking or reasoning. Carers are so grateful for the few hours a week that we can offer in a safe happy environment to the person they are caring for, leaving them free to pursue their own interests and fulfil their own needs!
To further encourage social inclusion we arrange a host of social events throughout the year for the benefit of both our members and their carers. Bringing the carers together is another way they are able to establish a sound support network; many of them have found this to be a lifeline as they are able to talk to some-one else going through something very similar. To know you aren’t alone helps them greatly in their caring role.
At Peaceful Place we pride ourselves on our good working relationship with Southend’s Dementia Advocate, the Alzheimer’s Society Outreach Worker and all the Community Mental Health Teams involved in our members care, thus maintaining consistently good care packages all working for the good of our members and their families.