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SIDE BY SIDE: CAN THE PROMOTION OF COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION AND ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP HELP PEOPLE AFFECTED BY DEMENTIA TO REMAIN AT HOME FOR LONGER?

      Background

      Evidence produced by the Alzheimer’s Society UK and the Care Quality Commission shows that maintaining independence, remaining active and being able to live in their own home are key outcomes for people with dementia. However, a third of people with dementia lose friends following a diagnosis and more than a third feel lonely. Currently, aside from support provided by family and friends, home care is the most important service involved in supporting people at home however adult social care in England is struggling to care adequately for people with dementia and is passing the problem on to hospitals. Once in hospital, people with dementia are more likely to stay longer, be readmitted or to die than people without dementia. The project aims to re-connect people with their communities, build natural support networks and empower and support people with dementia to become active citizens. It uses person centred tools to identify the outcomes people wish to achieve; the activity and services required to realise these; the strengths and skills people with dementia have and if they wish to share these with peers and the wider community. Volunteers then support people to achieve these. The service also helps to identify common barriers that deter people with dementia from taking part in everyday, community activity. Staff and volunteers then support people to identify and implement solutions to those barriers. Where this is not possible the staff engage with local Dementia Friendly initiatives and organisations to raise awareness of and combat the issues people with dementia face.