In the UK, there are 850,000 people living with some form of dementia. With an ageing population, those numbers are set to rise to 1 million by 2025 and 2 million by 2051. Although there is no cure for dementia at the moment, there is much that can be done to enable people living with dementia to live healthier, more active, and meaningful lives. There are also ways to bring emotional, social, and physical benefits to dementia-affected families.
With the generous £950,000 in funding received to date, players of People's Postcode Lottery enable Dementia Adventure to provide supported dementia holidays, dementia training, and research. Pivotal to these services is thinking differently about the condition, and focusing on the individual and what is possible for them.
Often, traditional respite involves separating the person with dementia from the family carer, such as their husband or wife, which can be stressful for both parties. Dementia Adventure's alternative holiday model provides families with trained dementia supporters. This means that carers also get the chance to enjoy holidays with their loved ones.
This year, the charity will deliver 33 holidays providing 252 holiday places. Supported holidays also continue to have a positive effect on the overall wellbeing of both the person with dementia and their carer for a considerable time after it has ended. This gives people hope, renewed energy, and the confidence to live better with dementia.
The charity provides training to a wide range of organisations such as care homes, local authorities, charities, and green-space organisations. These organisations can therefore offer better support, services, and choices to people affected by dementia.
With 2,837 individuals trained in 2017, 97% of training delegates said they had a better understanding of communicating with people with dementia, and 96% of attendees have a more positive understanding of the condition.
As an evidence-led charity, research underpins all the work of Dementia Adventure. The charity believes research is another route to bring about positive change to people with dementia and the people who care about them. Its findings show that access to outside space and moderate exercise can significantly improve emotional and physical health such as memory, attention, appetite, sense of wellbeing, and even slowing the progression of dementia and other related diseases.
Julie Taylor, whose grandfather Tim lives with dementia, said, "After having not attempted a holiday for the past 14 years, he has come back already planning his next trip with Dementia Adventure. We have talked about some of the changes we all need to make, to make sure that dementia does not rule June and Tim's life any more, now they are at home."