Andy is the founder of a new and innovative service which provides daytime activities for people living with dementia.
He has a wide experience of care services for older people including working as a home carer, providing support to enable people with dementia to stay in their own homes. As a result of his wife’s diagnosis with a rare form of vascular dementia in 2016 he is therefore acutely aware of how difficult life can be in trying to support a loved one and give them the best life has to offer.
His aim along with the rest of the Dementia Active team is to provide a safe and welcoming environment, where people with dementia can relax and join in activities designed to support and maintain their ability levels. Crucially this provides family members with some much needed time to themselves.
Andy has a particular interest in developing activities using the principles underlying Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST). This seeks to stimulate and utilise people’s cognitive strengths in order to help them maintain their lives in their own homes.
Melissa is a qualified primary trained teacher who has a long held interest in brain function. Initially this was from the perspective of the child’s developing brain, but in the last decade since the loss of her mother to vascular dementia she has focused on studying the decline in cognitive ability experienced by people with dementia. Of particular interest to her is the manner in which various forms of dementia impact in quite different ways upon brain function, along with the consequent limitations people experience in their daily lives.
A late career break in order to do a degree in ceramics has led to an interest in using the arts in dementia activities.
In recent years Melissa has had experience in the home care sector; has worked for the NHS in the Oxfordshire Supported Hospital Discharge Team (now known as HART) and also for the Alzheimer’s Society as an Advisor in North Oxfordshire. In this role it became clear that services which are able to offer stimulating activities for people with dementia but which also do not require the presence of a carer are very limited if non existent. For this reason she has chosen to join Dementia Active as it is able to offer just such a service and in particular is developing the use of Cognitive Stimulation Techniques (CST) for those with mild to moderate dementia.
Helen has worked as an Occupational Therapist for 17 years primarily working with older adults with mental health problems and continues to work for the NHS as part of a community rehab team. Helen has experience of working with people with dementia in both inpatient and community settings and is acutely aware of how important cognitive stimulation and social contact are in maintaining skills and well-being. Having seen a decline in the community groups available for older people in Oxfordshire Helen was delighted to find Dementia Active and to have the opportunity to join the team. She loves helping to run groups and facilitate social contact for people with dementia as this brings much needed stimulation and meaningful engagement. Helen says, " Dementia Active plays such as important role for the people that attend and their families, it is a pleasure to be part of."
Now volunteering for Dementia Transport CIC, Barry has been involved in the care of people with dementia for a few years and now organises the transportation of our members who are unable to get to the groups by themselves.
Barry also prepares fresh food for all the groups after obtaining his 'level 2 food and hygiene and safety for catering'. He enjoys cooking from scratch, and delivering a tasty, restaurant standard, three course meal.