We had a wonderful time at the Stride out for Memory Walk yesterday at Priory Park. The weather was perfect and I was delighted to see so many of you joining us with your families and dogs!
We got off to a great start as we stretched and warmed up with Kevin from the School of Sport Science & Physical Activity at the University of Bedfordshire before Patrizia led us through a series of Tai Chi moves, it was lovely to try out this ancient discipline in the fresh air with the backdrop of the lake behind us. Thank you Kevin and Patrizia for stepping in at the last minute and leading an enjoyable and varied warm up.
Hospital Radio Bedford provided the music to entertain and spur us on and we are very grateful for their support and enthusiasm, helping to create a wonderful atmosphere.
St John's ambulance service and The Park Rotary club ensured our safety throughout the morning, guiding us on our way as well as encouraging us all with a friendly word and smile.
The Cloverdale cafe a fantastic oasis of friendliness as we enjoyed drinks and tasty snacks at the end of the morning taking the time to relax together meeting friends new and old.
Thank you to the Memory Clinic (ELFT) who suggested and partnered the event especially Teresa for co organising and working so hard to ensure a successful day. It was great to be able to work together in this way and for us all to meet and share a wonderful and relaxed day together.
Thanks to all the volunteers who helped make the event a success, from helping erect the gazebo, manning the registration tent, leading the walk and the Nordic walk it was a lovely team effort.
Most of all thank you all for coming along, for being so friendly, warm and positive as always, for your goodwill and for supporting the occasion. Between us we raised the wonderful total of £869 and this will be used to help us set up services and support networks for people with Young Onset Dementia.
Thank you all for your generosity and for Striding out together to make a positive change and continuing to help make our community a better place.
Special thanks to:
The Colmworth golfing Ladies who 'like to play away' for raising the fantastic total of £473.37 at their recent fundraising event and especially to Rachel and Diane for holding a silent auction of golf souvenirs from their trip to the Solheim Cup raising £150. Look at the fundraising section for details of:
Mainline Big Band Concert. This is going to be wonderful afternoon of dance, laughter, fantastic music, cake and friendship. Make sure you put the date in your diary and tell your friends and family to come along as well.
We also have the BRILLIANT Hear and Now project looming - dates in the Upcoming Events section. Please consider coming along to part or all of this wonderful project. We are so privileged to have the opportunity to work alongside the Philharmonia Orchestra and experience the super talented creativity of Tim Steiner as he takes our ideas, weaving and transforming them into something magnificent.
Come to some or all of the sessions, come to the performance, come to some or come to all, but please do get involved. You don't need to be part of music 4 Memory or have any musical skill or experience - everyone is welcome.
With best wishes
Sarah Russell, CEO
This week we have a special guest blog from Teresa Moon talking about her role as Village Agent
A Village Agent’s Greatest Challenge?
I am one of 5 Village Agents, our role is to give support to vulnerable people living the 51 villages in Bedford Borough. We may be asked to help a disabled person apply for a Blue Badge; find support for a stressed carer; advise on benefits; fill in forms; or find solutions to one-off problems.
There is one request, however, which has no simple answer: – “Can you do anything to help my neighbour, as she seems to be very forgetful these days and I don’t think she’s coping”. People who are showing the early signs of dementia, and who don’t have close family, are one of our biggest challenges. We know the official solution – make a referral to Social Services, who will carry out a Care Assessment, but surely there is more we can do?
Recently I have had several clients who fall into this category. These clients live alone and have concerned friends and neighbours who are worried that the person might not be eating properly, might be vulnerable, or in danger.
One example is Miss G - well-loved in her village, where she has lived for many years, alone with her cat. After she stopped driving, neighbour Mr S has kindly been taking her shopping, and knowing that she had a problem with her memory, asked if he could introduce me as her Village Agent. She invited me round for a cup of tea, and we discussed her worries. She was pleased to learn there was a digital clock which showed the day of the week, and I helped her to order and install one. I also helped her fill in a small identification form which she could keep in her handbag, in case she was ever in a situation involving police or paramedics. This gave details of where she lived; what medication she was taking; whether she suffered from allergies; that she had a pet cat; and included contact details for her next of kin.
Over the next few months I learned that Miss G had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and was getting hot lunches delivered, so I knew she was getting support from ‘the system’. Then one Friday I got a concerned message from Mr S, to say that he had found Miss G sitting with her head in her hands at a table strewn with pills, saying she couldn’t eat her breakfast until she took her medication, but she had forgotten what to take. Her words were “I just can’t cope any more”.
When I read Mr S’s email “Time to call in outside help, I think, or something bad will happen. She is no longer safe living like this”, I felt the situation was serious enough to call the Borough Council’s Adult Safeguarding Team.
This led to a long and sometimes frustrating succession of phone calls often acting as a detective to engage social services, the GP, her wider family and the local community. I discovered that Miss G had been given a Care Assessment, and this had probably also triggered the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Social Services had arranged the hot lunch service and commissioned an Agency to send carers in night and morning to supervise Miss G’s medication. However, once she had started to pay for the carers herself, Miss G had taken the decision to cancel the contract, saying they weren’t needed.
I was very pleased to hear that Mr S wasn’t the only neighbour trying to help Miss G. One difficulty when someone loses their memory can be that they’re unable to pass on any information, so no-one has the whole picture. Their support network looks like a ‘Polo-mint’ with a hole at the centre. Maybe the contribution which the Village Agent can make is to help join up the communications, though we have to negotiate the minefield of Data Protection, which seems to block so much which could be helpful.
I asked permission from all parties to share their contact details, and Mr S has since called the family for a chat. Her niece knows that Social Services have been informed, and she has their contact details. She also now knows that her aunt isn’t getting a taxi to the supermarket – in spite of what she says on the phone. she will make another visit to her aunt in the near future, and will review the situation, and might meet up with Mr S. The network is now joined up.
The official role of a Village Agent is to ‘make sure that people who live in rural areas of the Borough of Bedford know what services and support are available’. In reality we do our best to assist further where we can and try to intervene when the system doesn’t appear to be working and to fill in the gaps of information.
in cases of dementia it can really help if the various concerned parties can be linked up so they are aware of what others are doing, and that Social Services are brought in when needed. In Bedford Borough we are lucky to have our Village Agent Scheme, funded by Bedford Borough Council and run by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity.
If you’d like to contact your Village Agent, just call Freephone 0800 039 1234, leave your details, and the appropriate Agent will call you back.
By Teresa Moon August 2019
firstname.lastname@example.org (Identities have been disguised)
SUPPORT OUR CHARITY
An event not to be missed as we join Mainline Big Band as they celebrate their big anniversary with a concert to raise funds for Tibbs Dementia Foundation. This will be an afternoon of fantastic music, dance, tea and cake. A chance to relax amongst friends whilst whilst being dazzled by the wonderful sound of the fabulous Big Band Sound that is Mainline Big Band.
Saturday 12th October
Great Denham Community Hall 86 Saxon Way MK40 4GP
Admission on the door £8.00 (£5.00 under16s) and Includes tea and cake
DIARY NEXT WEEK
* We know that you love coming to our services & events but, for reasons including health & safety and insurance, please don’t arrive more than 10 minutes before the start time. Thank you *
MON 7 OCT
*CS Activity and Encompass
St Andrews Church
*CST and Encompass
St Andrews Church
Music 4 Memory
TUE 8 OCT
Kempston Park Bowls
Kempston Drop in with carers wellbeing group
Kempston East Methodist Church
Sharnbrook Methodist Church
WED 9 OCT
*CST Flitwick and carers self support group
Woolpack- Salvation Army
Clear Voices 1 and 2
Dame Alice Court
Music 4 Memory
Potton Community Centre
THU 10 OCT
Music 4 Memory + Encompass
Oakley Village Hall
Activitea with carers self support group
St Andrews Church
Music 4 Memory
Parish Room Queen's Park
FRI 11 OCT
Music 4 Memory
Queen's Park Community Centre
Park Walk with BMS students
Pavilion Cafe- Bedford Park
CST and Encompass
St Andrews Church
SAT 12 OCT
Mainline Big Band Concert
Great Denham Community Centre
Please Note : Most of our services are open to all people with dementia and/or their families to just come along whenever you wish – although we would recommend you talk to us to check their suitability for you. However, services denoted with * are specialist services with a fixed number of places, so please contact us in advance regarding joining these (and there may be a waiting list). Contact us for details of our At Home Music Therapy service or if you would like to speak to one of our trained counsellors.
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