Local charity Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services have been awarded two prestigious Kent Integrated Care Alliance (KiCA) Awards for Dementia Champion and Innovation.

The Dementia Champion Award was for an organisation that was able to demonstrate how they enhance the lives of people living with dementia. 

As an organisation Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services has invested heavily in nurturing and empowering our team to be Dementia Champions. Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services have campaigned and worked with GPs to help them understand the importance of someone getting diagnosis of dementia and through our work with the local MDTs we\ are constantly fighting against the stigmas associated with dementia and a preconception of what people with dementia can do.

We have developed a programme of involving people affected by dementia in inductions for staff, volunteers and trustees and are committed to involving people with a lived experience of dementia in recruitment.

The Innovation Award for was an organisation able to demonstrate an innovative process or service they have developed and implemented during the past year. This was the rapid action Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services took to make sure people affected by dementia were still able to access support during the pandemic. 

Understanding that the impact of lockdown would be enormous – not only for the individual living with dementia, but for their carer, too. The effects of lockdown were felt immediately, and its repercussions meant that people were suddenly unable to access the support services they’d previously come to rely on so heavily – from day service, support groups and dementia cafes, to carer’s courses, post–diagnostic sessions and face to face support. 

Many people were feeling anxious and stressed; feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with the unpredictability of the situation. The team embraced remote working and got to grips with unfamiliar technology and very quickly, established a virtual audience that has been able to feel connected at a time when it has never been more vital. 

Whilst making initial calls, we identified people who would not be unable to join in the virtual groups, so in these cases, devised a more bespoke approach to meet their needs. These included regular welfare calls, keeping-in-touch letters, and weekly activity packs to keep people entertained.

“We are all absolutely thrilled to win two of the KiCA Care Awards. Both awards really are a team effort and after such a tough year this accolade is an amazing recognition of the fantastic work the team are doing day in day out to support people affected by dementia. The past year has been really difficult for people affected by dementia and as a charity we had to move quickly to ensure we were there for the people who needed us most, I am so proud of what we have achieved.” Katie Antill, Joint CEO of Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services.

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