Balhousie Care Group Dementia Ambassador Meeting May 2018

Our ambassador meeting had a technology theme to it this time around and what fun we had with it.  We started off by discussing the benefits of our dementia folders.  These folders are a quick look guide at where each individual home stands on all key themes for the year.  Each meeting ambassadors bring along their folder to share what they have been doing in-between meetings.  We find this helps not only spark new ideas but also to find solutions to any issues we may be facing.

Our dementia program has been shortlisted in this year’s Scottish Social Services Awards, so this month’s meeting we were joined by film directors who were filming parts of the meeting for the awards ceremony.   Ambassadors spoke about what being a dementia ambassador means to them and some of the duties and responsibilities it entails along with sharing some of their favourite projects.  Public speaking and speaking on camera is not for everyone but it shows how far the program has come, with more and more dementia ambassadors volunteering to share best practice both internally and externally.

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Tovertafel arrived to show us their interactive ‘Magic Table’.  This is a system which projects games onto a table and is designed for people with mid to advanced cognitive impairment. The activities are fun and easy to use with both image and sound to engage.  No dementia ambassadors with dementia were at the meeting and so it was agreed that dementia ambassadors would book Tovertafel to come out to the care home so that others could interact with the system and this would give us a better understanding on its suitability. The ambassadors on the day however all found it a positive experience and could see how this would work and fit within the care home setting. If you are interested in seeing the table in action yourself, please speak to one of your dementia ambassadors about arranging for Tovertafel to visit.

Our next session for the day was on music therapy.  Our dementia nurse consultant Yvonne Manson along with dementia ambassadors Tanya Smith and Maria O’Rourke will be giving a presentation on music therapy at the Alzheimer Scotland conference on 8th June.  Music therapy comes in many different forms so at the meeting we had a session led by Susie Black, covering movement to music followed by a session on the benefits of individually personalised music which was led by our dementia ambassador Tanya Smith.  There were lots of laughs as we shared stories about our own favourite songs and the meaning behind our song choices.

Our final session of the day was to look at the finalists for the best dementia project in the last two months and vote on our 1st and 2nd choice. The finalists were;

  • Clement Park – Pimp my walking aid:  This is a project that saw residents and staff decorate walking frames and sticks. The dementia ambassadors reported that the project had been a success with people taking pride in what they had done and were less likely to forget to lift it when they stood up.
  • Wheatlands – Fitness and Wellbeing Journal:  This project saw dementia ambassador Maria O’Rourke become a walk leader for Paths for All, with residents and staff creating a fitness and wellbeing path which is displayed on the wall in Wheatlands where you can view the different goals and achievements they have made.
  • Luncarty – Social club:   This project saw Luncarty team up with some of our other Balhousie homes and enjoy social engagements with the aim of reducing loneliness and creating new friendships.  So far they have enjoyed a party at Stormont Lodge and a day at Forth View trying their virtual reality equipment.
  • Monkbarns – Namaste Care room:  This project saw residents and staff get involved in creating a Namaste care room. Residents chose the colour of paint and painted the room along with staff. Different pieces of sensory equipment were chosen by residents and they have plans for blankets and further sensory items to be put in place before officially completing and opening the room.
  • Lisden – Intergenerational working in practice:  Lisden have teamed up with one of the local rural schools to engage in various intergenerational activities with small groups of children and have lots of future plans for garden projects throughout the summer.
  • Huntly – Indoor dementia garden:  This project has seen residents and staff come together to turn what was an underused space into an indoor garden complete with wall mural, hanging basket, trellis and seating.

Look out for the winners which will be announced shortly!

Our next dementia ambassador meeting is on the 17th July and the meetings agreed theme is ‘the senses’.  If you want to come along to speak on any aspect of the senses at the meeting, then please email Yvonne Manson.  If you are looking to sign up as a dementia ambassador then please speak to any of our dementia ambassadors throughout our homes, contact your line manager or email dementia nurse consultant on Yvonne.manson@