Dementia Adventure believes in thinking differently about dementia. With the right support, people living with dementia and their families can continue to do the things they have always enjoyed: Get outdoors, remain active, keep connected to friends, family and their community and retain a sense of adventure in their lives.

Supported Dementia Holidays

People with dementia and their families often find that planning and achieving a holiday gets more and more difficult.

Traditional respite often involves separating the person with dementia from the family carer such as their husband or wife, and this can be stressful for both parties. Dementia Adventure provides support so a person with dementia and their partner, family member or friend can enjoy a holiday together.

Caring for someone with dementia can be a lonely place, and actually being with other people who understand and having a break from the norm is often a holiday for them in itself. The most common feedback we receive from families is that they don’t have to apologise or explain all the time; they can just enjoy doing normal things.

Catherine Reed, Head of Adventures

Key highlights:

  • Delivered our 137th supported dementia holiday
  • Filled 253 holiday places across 34 holidays
  • Enabled 212 unique individuals to benefit from a break

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52% of people with dementia felt less lonely after the holiday

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56% of carers felt less lonely after the holiday

We see practical improvements for people living with dementia.

» Activity levels (52%)
» Mood (50%)
» Interaction and communication with others (56%)

Graph showing top three self-reported outcomes for people living with dementia

Top three self-reported outcomes for carers

If people supported each other like we have this week, the world would be a better place.

Campbell (family carer)

lady enjoying an icecream

Priceless memories and renewed confidence

Penny Bell cares for her Mum, Rosemary, who lives with alzheimers and vascular dementia.

Rosemary is physically able, but her dementia means that everyday tasks have become more and more difficult. Penny describes how having a dementia adventure has made a difference to them both:

“She needs more support to keep doing the things she loves. Mum thrives in company and loves talking to others, so she really enjoyed being part of the holiday group.

“For me, it was great to be with other people who really understood the dementia experience, in particular, the other carers on the trip. We were able to exchange tips and share knowledge.

“A highlight of the holiday was hearing mum play the beautiful Steinway grand piano positioned in the grand reception area at Holkham Hall in Norfolk. Rosemary is a musician. She played some pieces from memory, which she has spent a long time telling me she could no longer do, so that was priceless.

“Though she may not remember the details of the holiday, it has given mum a boost. With all the tips given, I have renewed energy to find the right kind of additional support for mum so she can continue living at home for as long as possible.”

Penny-Bell-&-Rosemary

Carers felt less stressed and better able to cope.

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Reduced stress and anxiety levels

Made me feel more positive about continuing in my caring and determined to keep doing my best.

Margaret Hemsley (family carer), after Isle of Wight holiday

Carers told us that they see the person with dementia do things that they would not normally be able to do (like taking the helm of a sailboat or zip wiring) and abilities return that have been missing for some time.

I felt alive again.

Person living with dementia

He’s walked more in the last few days than he has in the last six months and his confidence is continuing to grow.

Jean Chothia, Family Carer

They found the support and understanding of trained staff, volunteers and other guests most beneficial. They also said they intended to take action as a result of the holiday, including getting outdoors, connecting with their local community and asking for more support.

Support for Family Carers

We believe that every family carer should have the opportunity to have training in dementia support and that this has an enormous impact on their ability to provide ongoing, effective and appropriate care.

The abilities and behaviour of the person may change as their dementia progresses. Understanding this behaviour can help carers cope and improve their ability to communicate with the person they support. Families tell us that they are often not given the information and skills they need to support them in their caring role.

Evaluation of the face-to-face events indicated that they had an enormous impact on the lives of people looking after people living with dementia. Attendees described the events as ‘reassuring’, ‘informative’, ‘empowering’, ‘confidence-building’, ‘insightful’, ‘positive’, ‘supportive’.

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99% rated the training as 8 or more out of 10

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97% of attendees have a more positive understanding of dementia

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99% have a better understanding of how to communicate with someone living with Dementia

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98% have increased knowledge of the information and support available

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64% feel
less isolated

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63% have the confidence to go outdoors and try new things

Improving the confidence of carers can lead to more people with dementia (and their carers) remaining active, continuing to do the things they have always enjoyed and the confidence to continue to go outside the home. Remaining active and engaged in the earlier stages can both maintain and bring major improvements in quality of life.

Dory leading training
Dory leading training

In 2019, our programme of Dementia Skills Sessions for people supporting somebody living with dementia:

  • benefitted 199 family carers across 19 face-to-face support events
  • reached 488 individuals through new practical
  • support films
Made me feel more positive about continuing in my caring and determined to keep doing my best.

Margaret Hemsley (family carer), after Isle of Wight holiday

nina-and-jim

Family Carer Finds a New Lease of Life

Nina supports husband Jim, who has dementia. In 2019 she attended a Dementia Skills Session.

She arrived feeling isolated, lonely and a bit desperate as she had no help or support. Nina told us:

“Dementia Adventure has really inspired me. It’s hard not to feel sorry for yourself. But it’s given me a fire to say don’t just pull down your armour. At the event I got information, tips and tricks, I got some training, but more importantly I got life experience from other carers—and that’s what was so amazing about the event.”

Nina also met a Support Worker from a local carers organisation who was able to provide her with ongoing support in the community. She said that “without her, I would not actually be able to go back to work”.

Training

Various dementia training resoucres

Player support has helped us to upskill and build confidence individuals and organisations.

We show people how to ‘thinking differently about dementia’ as a catalyst to increasing the availability and impact of nature-based, positive risk taking activities for people living with dementia.

Key highlights:

  • Trained and supported 3,566 individuals
  • Continued to expand our reach through digital learning resources, including e-learning resources for the Royal Voluntary Service

Help to find missing people with dementia

Somebody in the UK is reported missing every 90 seconds and people living with dementia are often at great risk of going missing.

Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Missing People and Lowland Rescue were able to team up with the aim of finding high risk missing people in a new and innovative way.

They are training new trailing search dogs and equipping those caring for vulnerable people with the knowledge and tools to act fast if their loved one was to go missing. This includes a kit and instructions on how to capture a person’s scent and safely store it in case the worst happens.

Pav, Simon and Bert of Missing People and Lowland Rescue
Pav, Simon and Bert of Missing People and Lowland Rescue

Dementia Adventure provided support to deliver their Dream Fund project during 2019. Our Special Interest Group, formed of people living with dementia and their carers, provided feedback on the Search Dog Scent Kits and other resources. We also trained 341 Lowland Rescue Volunteers and Missing People staff.

Of the delegates who attended the training:

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100% would recommend the training to colleagues

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96% agreed or strongly agreed that they had a more positive understanding of dementia

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84% would change an action/practice

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96% agreed or strongly agreed that they had a greater understanding of how to communicate with and offer personalised support to people living with dementia

On finding a missing person living with dementia, I will be far more informed in how I should communicate and make their experience more positive.

I feel more confident in approaching a missing person living with dementia.

(Training Delegates)

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