Dr Martha Pollard the Dementia Support and Education Co-Ordinator at the Eric Liddell Centre recently contributed to The Scotman’s 200 Voices speaking about her role here.
Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy 2017-2020 places person-centred, flexible care at the heart of support for people with dementia. It is underpinned by continuing to develop the skills of staff who support people with dementia and carers, through Promoting Excellence and The Standards of Care for Dementia in Scotland.
In my role as dementia support and education co-ordinator at the Eric Liddell Centre, a registered care charity and community hub in Edinburgh, I have the privilege of supporting people living with dementia and their carers.
The centre’s aim is to help people remain involved and included in community. Our day care service provides support for up to 70 clients per week who have a diagnosis of dementia.
Support to cope with the demands of the role and having a break can help to prolong the time that carers can keep loved ones at home. Two community programmes we run are Lunch Breaks and Befriending. Our Friday Lunch Breaks provide a welcoming group meal experience for people living with dementia and carers. Diners can relax and enjoy the company of people who understand their experiences, challenges, joys and sorrows.
Our befriending service pairs carers with trained volunteers who provide companionship and a break from their responsibilities. They are matched on interests, so they have a good start at building a relationship. They may meet weekly for a coffee or to attend a fitness class or other activity.
We could not offer these services without the support of the Life Changes Trust via Big Lottery, the RS Macdonald Charitable Trust, individual financial donations, and the time given by our volunteers.
I am one of 850 dementia ambassadors with the Scottish Social Services Council and part of my role is to raise awareness of dementia and best practice for care and support. Businesses are welcome to get in touch to arrange a talk for staff.