Our organisation was founded by Caroline Cooke, whose late father had vascular dementia and dementia has touched the lives of the Share and Care team in some way; so we are all committed to raising awareness, encouraging support and demystifying dementia – reflecting the aims of World Alzheimer’s Month.
Many of our householders are living with dementia, and share their home with a younger person (anything from people in their early 20s to those in their 50s) in return for a helping hand around the house and friendship.
The impact of this arrangement is immense, and we can confidently say that it has changed the lives of so many people living with dementia. Not only that, but it has a snowball effect, touching the lives of their families too. Families often notice positive changes in their loved ones and also experience a huge sense of relief to know that someone is there day-in day-out to provide support and companionship.
For instance, having another person in the home to give a gentle nudge and act as a reminder on when to take medication is very useful for our clients who have memory problems. Or having a meal cooked and ready each dinner time and eating together is another simple, yet effective way that supports people living with dementia.
The sharers are there to provide a gentle nudge, if needed, and trigger reminders for people. They also can provide those all-important updates to family, or even be the first point of action in the case of an emergency.
We have heard so many lovely stories from our householders living with dementia, their families, and the sharers of how they have built genuine friendships. We match our householders with empathetic people, often people who have been involved in volunteering of some sort and have an understanding of older people.
In fact, one of our sharers has homeshared with people living with dementia for more than 16 plus years!
One very important point we should reiterate is that this isn’t a one-sided arrangement – it’s not all about people living with dementia being supported. Instead it is about the mutual benefits – sharers gain enormously too from friendships, experience, knowledge and so much more.
What we want to do is to increase awareness of homeshare as an option for people living with dementia. When full-on care is not needed, homeshare works and it works extremely well; but for people who do require some personal care, it can also sit alongside a care package which again is how some of our arrangements run.
Take a look at our ‘In the News’ page for more stories on how homeshare supports people living with dementia.