• Island of dreams? 26 August 2018 | View comments

  • 26th August 2018 | By David Jolley

    Island of dreams? The Isle of Wight gave us Dementia Conversations. We are grateful for this, pleased to be part of this initiative in the North West and wishing and hoping to spread the idea to other centres.

    The beginning came when Barbara Stevens and The Reverend Veronica Brown picked up the bewilderment and frustration of family carers who were attending a meeting on the island to encourage awareness of dementia and the appropriateness of treatments and services. They hear accounts of good practice – but had found the reality to be that when they and their family member with dementia had needs, there was rarely anyone or anything to help them.

    This year Barry Jackman came to the annual review of Dementia Pathfinders at the Hallam Centre July 11th. He told of his anger and frustration in trying to find appropriate help for his wife and himself on the island, the support he has received from Dementia Conversations and his crusade, along with others, to improve matters for people with dementia and their carers on the Isle of Wight. Barry is a very able man. He has found willing and able collaborators and they have established Dementia Awareness Partnership on the island. https://www.newsarchyuk.com/new-partnership-in-dementia-conference-to-help-improve-isle-of-wight-care/

    Their energy and talents have engaged families and individuals, and professionals and organisations at every level. Their progress may have been helped by a critical report for the Care Quality Commission: www.cqc.org.uk/provider/R1F/reports

    History tells us that sometimes when things get really bad – and are recognised to be so – it is then that something can and will be done about it.

    The conference organised by the Dementia Awareness Partnership – it must have cost a fortune – I wonder where the money came from – attracted hundreds of well informed and motivated people, including the Chief Nurse, national figures in dementia care, as well as leaders of services on the island. They are impressive people and they talk the talk very well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfjaA_J35mQ&feature=youtu.be

    The task now is to translate these brilliant insights and powerful intentions into walking the walk – This will depend upon small but determined steps on the ground.

    There is a lot going on, on the Isle of Wight. There seems to be a spirit of cohesion and ownership within the island population which will have some atypical features, for the population is skewed to older age https://www.iow.gov.uk/azservices/documents/2552-Isle-of-Wight-Demographic-and-Population-factsheet-2016-17-Final-SS-v2.pdf

    Delegates at the conference refer to the large number of care homes https://www.carehome.co.uk/care_search_results.cfm/searchcounty/Isle-of-Wight

    Others reflect on lack of resources in these austerity years and encourage moves to ‘do things differently’.

    The activities of Dementia Conversations and The Dementia Awareness Partnership on the island are important and impressive. The challenges on the island may be as extreme as anywhere in the UK. We need to see, now, whether all this good can become something real. 

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