Harrogate support group for younger people with dementia

Younger people living with dementia at the weekly support group at Starbeck Library. (S)
Younger people living with dementia at the weekly support group at Starbeck Library. (S)
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Dementia does not only affect the elderly, and many younger people in the Harrogate district living with the disease are getting the support they need at a support group.

Meeting every week at Starbeck Library, the support group is run by the Tees, Esk and Wear Valley Mental Health Trust and charity Dementia Forward - a specialist voluntary organisation and one of North Yorkshire County Council’s (NYCC) dementia support service providers.

We know that the support service we provide has to be tailored to meet the needs of every individual, and in particular that there is a lack of help available for younger people affected by dementia.

NYCC executive member for health Coun Clare Wood (Con)

As well as help, support, and advice, the group offers weekly indoor and outdoor activities, including country walks, visits to places of interest, and sports sessions.

Dementia Forward CEO Jill Quinn said: “Our weekly support group called ‘Time out Together’ provides a range of community based activities for younger people living with dementia.

“Members of the group enjoy walking, bowling and visiting places of interest. But most importantly each other’s company, friendship, as well as the opportunity to share experiences. This service is vital in supporting people to live well with their dementia.”

Community liaison manager Netty Newell said: “It’s a great example of working corroboratively in our community, with different organisations coming together to provide this service. Together we can make a difference.”

Transport to and from the sessions and activities is provided by the Red Cross and anyone interested in joining the group, which meets every Wednesday can contact the Dementia Forward helpline on 01765 601224 for more information.

Group members can also take advantage of the library’s new collection of books aimed at people with dementia and their carers, including titles to help people who have just been diagnosed through to picture books for reminiscence sessions and stories from those with first-hand experience of living with dementia.

NYCC executive member for adult social care and health integration Coun Clare Wood (Con) said: “We know that the support service we provide has to be tailored to meet the needs of every individual, and in particular that there is a lack of help available for younger people affected by dementia.

“This support group focuses on encouraging people with dementia to realise what they can do - not what they can’t do - and in addition to offering companionship and peer support it can facilitate group sessions and activities. It also provides a vital weekly respite time for carers.”