New Edinburgh project supports people with dementia to be more active and healthy

A new project, Movement for Memories, will support people living with dementia and their carers to become or remain physically active in Edinburgh. This work is supported with funding from the Life Changes Trust.  The Trust is funded by the Big Lottery.

Delivered by Edinburgh Leisure, anyone living with dementia or anyone caring for someone living with dementia can make a self-referral to the Movement for Memories project or be referred by a health professional, dementia link worker or social worker. The Movement for Memories project will help people living with dementia to get active, stay healthy and feel socially connected.     

The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Frank Ross said: “Edinburgh was declared Scotland’s first dementia-friendly city in 2014 and over this time we have been working in communities to end the stigma around memory loss. Edinburgh Leisure’s new Movement for Memories Project will help to contribute towards the city’s efforts in mitigating the effects of dementia.

“In a brilliant example of the kind of caring Capital Edinburgh is, the staff and volunteers involved in the programme will go above and beyond to understand the varied needs of individuals experiencing dementia and their carers. In response, they will provide a flexible programme of physical activity, helping citizens from all over the city to age well.”

Sam Scott, Health Development Officer (Dementia) at Edinburgh Leisure explains how the project will work: “When someone with dementia is referred to Movement for Memories, they will be invited to a welcome consultation where, through motivational interviewing, we will identify the individual needs, interest and abilities and provide a tailored physical activity programme incorporating a range of Edinburgh Leisure activities.  To further support them to be active, each participant will be provided with an Edinburgh Leisure access card offering 12 weeks of fully subsidised access to a range of Edinburgh Leisure activities followed by discounted access for a further nine months.

“We understand the importance of carers’ wellbeing too so when a carer of someone with dementia is referred to Movement for Memories, they will be provided with a Carer’s Access Card, which provides a discount to encourage them to protect their health and wellbeing through regular physical activity.”dementia

It is estimated that there are currently around 8,000 people living with dementia in Edinburgh and this is likely to increase by 68% over the next 20 years.

According to researchers one in three babies, born in 2015, will go on to develop the condition. Research by the Alzheimer Society has found that 34% of people living with dementia are not living as well as they could, and do not feel part of the community. 

Edinburgh Leisure will also be introducing a Dementia Friendly Buddy Service, where volunteers will provide support to enable people with dementia and their carers to confidently access Edinburgh Leisure activities.  Alongside this, the project will be delivering physical activity sessions for people in the local community through dementia support groups. 

Another key focus will be training Edinburgh Leisure’s staff and coaches in dementia awareness and looking at how we can make our facilities more dementia friendly. 

If you would like more information on how to refer onto the project or are interested in volunteering, contact: Sam Scott. Health Development Officer (Dementia) / 0131 458 2209

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