The plight of Chapel St Leonards’ many dementia sufferers and their carers has inspired an experienced health professional to campaign for better facilities in the village.
Teresa Tansley was so saddened to learn of the struggle faced by many of the village’s elderly residents that she has started making plans for a new drop-in centre to help them access support and advice.
“I had been a carer for 40 years with 10 years experience in a dementia unit and I said I would never go back to care work,” she said.
“But when I met this family in the village and heard they had not been able to see anyone for more than five months, while the daughter was struggling on her own to look after her mother, I saw that there was a real need to help.”
Teresa held her first fundraiser in support of the Alzheimer’s Society, coinciding with national Dementia Awareness Week, at Crumb’s Cafe last Tuesday.
The event raised £200 for the charity through cake sales, raffles and a tombola but it also demonstrated to Teresa the extent of the problem in the village.
“Last week was all about raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society and to get a feel for what’s needed in the village,” said Teresa.
“It’s really come to the fore that there’s a lot of people feeling very isolated around here and many people came to the event to off-load their problems and share stories.”
“Around 70 per cent of the village is elderly and Alzheimer’s is increasingly affecting younger people too.
“People are being diagnosed and their loved ones want to care for them at home but at the moment they are not getting the support they need to do so.”
Teresa is currently approaching the local clinical commissioning groups and patient participation groups to seek support for her plans.
Initially she intends to host a regular drop-in session at the Village Hall, enabling dementia patients and their family carers to share advice and support one another.
Teresa also plans to invite care professionals, charities and advice networks to attend the meetings to help its members gain the support they have been looking for. And in the long term, it is hoped a permanent facility can be developed offering all of the modern treatments.
If you are interested in attending Teresa’s meetings contact her on 01754 871706.