Those living with dementia in Powys – and their carers – are being encouraged to “get their wiggle on” by Dementia Matters in Powys and the Powys Teaching Health Board.
An initiative by Impelo – a Powys dance charity – has been running online weekly classes for those living with dementia and their carers in Llandrindod since last September. The Joio programme – which has been dubbed “Wiggle with a Giggle” by those that take part – is currently running online but organisers hope to run studio classes again shortly. The programme has been funded by Y Lab.
Lucy Bevan is the Arts in Health Coordinator:
“Physical exercise helps those living with dementia because it helps the blood flow to the brain and it may also stimulate brain cell growth and survival. Getting involved in an enjoyable creative activity is also really important for your emotional wellbeing as well as your physical health.”
Of participants that took part in Joio, 90% reported that their mental wellbeing had improved. Suzy West from Impelo says:
“Dancing helps to release endorphins – the happy hormones – and we certainly see our participants smiling and laughing in our sessions. The programme is just as important for carers as it is for those with dementia. We spend time to help upskill carers so they can run their own mini sessions. We also have plans to train up paid carers too so we can really share the benefits of dance right across Powys.
“Programmes like this help to enrich the quality of life for many people and have the potential to keep people out of hospitals, living happily and healthily, for longer.”
Impelo is also keen to work with memory clinics and dementia wards.
Across the county, Dementia Matters in Powys run a range of activities including the popular Knit & Natter. As activities have been running virtually during the pandemic, the charity has been supporting people to get online:
“During lockdown, we helped people set up video chat so they could speak to their loved ones who, in some cases, were on the other side of the world. Taking every precaution to be safe, we help to access personal equipment or, most often, provide loan and trial equipment that makes it easier to get involved in online activities.
“We have also been encouraging people to get outside through our Naturewatch programme. People take photos of nature during the week and share them in the weekly Virtual Meeting Centre. We are starting to run small walking groups and bringing people together now that restrictions are easing. We are organising a Summer Games event on 2 September which will provide an opportunity for those from across the county that have connected online to meet each other and for members, carers, volunteers and supporters to engage in a range of activities. The setting will be similar to a fete of days gone by,” added Deborah.
Dementia Matters in Powys is currently running a virtual meeting centre. Meeting centres are for people living with dementia or cognitive loss as well as carers and family members.
The Welsh Government’s Help Us Help You campaign aims to encourage everybody to lead a healthier lifestyle. There are a number of small things we can do to support our wellbeing as well as our physical health and local support is available.
If you’re worried about someone who is struggling with memory loss or finding it hard to follow conversations or TV programmes, it's well worth talking to your doctor. An early diagnosis can help you get the right treatment and support.
If you would like to find out more about events and activities for those living with dementia in Powys, please visit www.dementiamatterspowys.org.uk or call 01597 821166 or email firstname.lastname@example.org