Balhousie Care Group partners with Alzheimer Scotland to strengthen dementia initative

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Balhousie Care Group is lending its support to a charity close to the heart of staff and residents - Alzheimer Scotland.

Balhousie, with 25 care homes across the North East of Scotland, has chosen Alzheimer Scotland as its charity partner after conducting a staff poll. The partnership will provide Balhousie’s homes with resource for staff training, resident wellbeing and relative support. Essential fundraising initiatives will also be carried out by the care group to support Alzheimer Scotland to continue to provide specialist services for people with dementia and their carers.

The care home group is also adopting Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Friends programme, which aims to change how people think, act and talk about dementia. Under Dementia Friends, Balhousie staff will receive training and gain certification from Alzheimer Scotland.

The moves are the latest in Balhousie Care Group’s efforts to make dementia a focus in its care homes, and in innovative ways. Balhousie was recently shortlisted for a Scottish Care Award for a project that introduced foreign language classes to residents with dementia at its Wheatlands Care Home in Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire. Evidence suggests that speaking more than one language can delay the onset of dementia by up to five years.

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most frequently occurring illnesses under the umbrella term of dementia. The number of people with dementia in Scotland – currently numbering more than 90,000 – is expected to double in the next 25 years, because of the ageing population.

Balhousie Care Group has developed a dementia strategy which focuses on individuals and encourages consultation and input from residents, staff, families and visiting professionals. Its Dementia Ambassadors programme, launched earlier this year, supports designated care home staff with an interest in dementia with regular meetings and speakers on the subject.

Yvonne Manson, Dementia Consultant at Balhousie Care Group, said:

“Around 800 of Balhousie Care Group’s residents are living with dementia or cognitive decline so we welcome this charity partnership with Alzheimer Scotland, as well as the chance to learn more from the charity about dementia.

“The dementia strategy we have developed throughout our 25 care homes focuses on individuals and a person-centred approach. We’ve been encouraging input from residents, staff, families and visiting professionals which is in keeping with Together We’re Great, a culture change that is taking place across Balhousie Care Group. Alzheimer Scotland has a similar human rights based approach so we consider this to be an excellent partnership.”