MCF & East Kent Freemasons’
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services is a local independent registered charity that has been operating in Gravesham, Dartford and Swanley and surrounding areas for nearly thirty years.
Dedicated staff and volunteers offer a wide range of services that provide practical and emotional support for people living with dementia – including carers, supporters and family. The aim is to empower people affected by dementia to carry on their chosen lifestyle.
Enjoying the sunshine
Making Cakes, Yum, Yum
Their services, many of which are free, include:
- a 24-hour Helpline
- a Community Café
- Carers Learning and Support Groups
- Peer Support Groups
- Active Body Active Minds Sessions
- a Kindred Spirits Young Onset Dementia Group and Activity Group
- various community Memory Cafés
- Singing Back the Memories (a dementia singing group)
- Community Dementia Training
- Support at Home and Support and Home plus (personal care)
- Buddy Scheme
- Supporting local PCT/hospitals/GPs,Monthly
- Dementia Luncheon Club for those who are on their own in the community
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services have of course been much affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. They are continuing to maintain contact with those affected by dementia through welfare phone calls (over three hundred a week) and have ‘virtual’ Carers Learning/Peer Support/ Singing Back the Memories sessions.
They are creating dementia activity videos by sports specialists (boxfit, chair exercise, yoga, chair ballet) as well as Arts and Craft videos which appear weekly on their website and on YouTube. ‘Virtual’ classes like these help to reduce stress, allow interaction, alleviate feelings of isolation, give focus and maintain fitness and fun.
Virtual Group Sessions, supported by dementia staff, maintain contact and give a platform for learning coping techniques and an opportunity to air problems. Dementia Activity Packs, sent weekly to attendees of The Beacon Daycare and to various Care Homes, are helping to focus minds, challenge, evoke conversation and give a sense of achievement when completed. Staff are providing weekly ‘virtual’ chair exercise/activity videos, via Zoom, to increase physical activity, maintain client contact with staff and friends, reduce the feeling of isolation – and give carers a little break.
The demand for services is as high as ever with people affected by dementia needing guidance and support throughout the Pandemic. Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services are ensuring that those they support “remain connected, engaged and safe”.
Clive Liley of Northfleet Lodge No.4149 has personal experience with the Association. His mother (Jean) uses their services and Clive has attended a training course organised by them which has helped him to better understand the illness and look after his Mum. He thinks their help is fantastic.
Times are difficult for charities like Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services, so Group 1 chose it to make a donation. Here’s the reply from Fundraiser Sheila Buckley (pictured below) to East Kent Province’s Group 1 Chairman Colin Barden: