Facilitating peer support activities to help people with learning disabilities understand about growing older and living with dementia.
More needs to be done to help people with learning disabilities understand the changes associated with the ageing process and dementia.
This is particularly important because, with the move from residential care to supported living, more people are living in shared houses in the community and will need support to cope with dementia if they or one of their housemates develop the disease.
The Talking Together project involved facilitating group sessions in two places: a shared house for six people with learning disabilities where one of the housemates had developed dementia and a small day centre for older people with learning disabilities where at least one person had dementia.
The groups were co-facilitated by Cindy Glover and Christine Towers who developed the activities and piloted them with the two groups. The group members talked afterwards about what worked well, what they enjoyed and how to improve them.
We have produced a handbook to help people with learning disabilities have a greater sense of well-being as they grow older. An important aspect of this is looking at positive ways of supporting people who develop dementia as well as those whose friends or housemates are living with dementia. The handbook describes how to run facilitated peer support groups where people use their understanding and experiences to help each other.
There are 20 participative activities that will engage people to think and talk about the changes that may occur as they get older, including developing dementia, thus increasing their understanding of the process and providing the opportunity for peer support.