Being diagnosed with dementia can be extremely isolating. Coping with the physical changes can be hard enough but the feeling of isolation and loneliness can really take its toll on those affected.
For Maureen, 80, her diagnosis meant that she was finding it very hard to do some of things she used to take for granted.
Her sister, Theresa said, “I noticed a real change in Maureen when she got her diagnosis. On one hand, I think she was relieved to know what was wrong with her but on the other, I know she felt extremely isolated. She needed support and didn’t know where to find it.”
It wasn’t until Maureen was referred to LifeCare’s day centre, The Cottage, that her life turned around. Located in Portobello, The Cottage has been providing support to people living with dementia for 25 years. With cosy rooms full of activities and extensive grounds to explore, it is a beautiful and welcoming place.
The Cottage runs every weekday with only 10 people living with dementia attending to ensure that the highest level of support and quality care is provided by the four registered care worked and dedicated volunteers.
Maureen attends The Cottage three times a week and it allows her to have a chat, relax and do the things she enjoys with the support she needs. She no longer feels the isolation and loneliness that she first experienced after her diagnosis.
For Maureen, going to dance halls and socialising is something that she used to really enjoy and likes to reminisce about. The team at The Cottage believe that music has a magical power, and it can be a fantastic way to support people like Maureen.
“Maureen sometimes struggles to communicate well through her illness but as soon as we put on a song she loved from years ago, you can see her face light up and she sings and moves along, it’s really special to see,” said senior care worker Tricia.
For those living with dementia, life doesn’t stop. Being able to do the things that are enjoyable is so important and this is something that LifeCare recognised. The Edinburgh-based charity supports older people, those living with dementia or poor health, and the people who care for them.
The team at The Cottage made an extra special effort for Maureen’s 80th birthday.
“We held a themed 1950s party for Maureen’s birthday” said Tricia “All the staff dressed up in drindl skirts, blouses and bobby socks. We put on a buffet lunch and even borrowed a juke box! Maureen and her friends at the club had a fantastic time – we all danced the afternoon away!”
The team at The Cottage and LifeCare know that just because someone is living with dementia, they don’t have to stop doing the things they love, they just need a bit of support. The charity has been helping combat loneliness in thousands of people’s lives who are living with dementia.
As the population ages, the number of people living with the illness will increase and the demand for essential services such as The Cottage will get greater. LifeCare relies on the generosity of donors, funders, partners and volunteers to provide vital care and put smiles on the faces of hundreds of people just like Maureen.