‘I sometimes don’t remember what I did during the day, but I know I’ve been happy’
This comment from a regular user of Norwich’s Marion Road Centre is worth its weight in gold to staff at this dementia day care unit aimed mainly at older people living with dementia.
The Marion Road Dementia Day Care Centre has been run by Age UK Norwich in the heart of the city for several decades, building up the kind of homely, welcoming atmosphere that is based on experience you can’t buy.
Manager Alison Bessey said: “Nobody is just left to sit at Marion Road. We aim to keep people interested and involved, with Cognitive Stimulation Therapy sessions, reminiscence work, games and exercise as well as physical care.”
The centre takes a mix of fee-paying and local authority funded clients, up to 25 a day – a scale which helps make it a home from home.
There are home-cooked lunches, and the centre is open from 9.30am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday. Users can attend anything from a single day to five days a week.
Respite for Carers
And there is a great deal of focus on the other key people in these situations – the carers.
Regular coffee mornings are held for carers to meet each-other, relax, socialise and exchange their experiences. The centre has a dedicated Carers Support Manager, and offers access to the professional information, advice and welfare rights service offered by Age UK in the city.
Alison said: “We understand that carers are quietly doing one of the most important jobs in our society, often unrecognised. It can be rewarding but it can also be exhausting and stressful. We can offer a lot of guidance and support, including bespoke training packages, but there’s nothing like meeting others who have been through it themselves… which is why we offer carers regular chances to meet up.”
For daytime users of the centre, Marion Road offers an ambitiously wide range of activities, including singing groups, visits from school children, inter-generational work, where youngsters help the users write their life story, arts and crafts, reading and poetry.
The centre also offers training to other care professionals.
As the Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group – the GP’s organisation – put it recently: “The Marion Road Centre provides an excellent service that provides valued support to those living with dementia and their carers. It contributes towards Norwich CCG’s dementia strategy for post diagnosis support. Norwich CCG continues to work with this service to further develop in many innovative ways to improve the dementia experience in the city.”
Marion Road recently began extending its home-cooked lunch offer to other older people in the area who would like to have a good home-cooked meal in friendly company.
To learn more, and perhaps arrange a ’taster day’ for the person in your family living with dementia to try out the experience, call Alison on 01603 667944 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As one family wrote after trying a visit recently: “I can see the wonderful atmosphere you all create it made my day hearing her talk so animatedly about her visit.”
For more information on Dementia services in Norfolk visit our Dementia pages here
Click here to find out more about Age UK Norwich and their wide range of services.