Life-changing centres where people living with Dementia and their families can receive vital support are set to appear in the North East for the first time.

We’re so proud to be one of Age UK’s Dementia Meeting Centres, offering individually-tailored, expert-led support to people (and their family members) affected by the condition.

Research has shown that Meeting Centres have a hugely positive impact: statistics indicate that after attending people living with the condition were happier, and families felt more able to look after their loved ones.

Greg Lambert, Head of Community and Enterprise at Howdon Community Hub, is pleased to be helping to bring the Meeting Centres to people in North Tyneside.

He said: “Everybody knows someone who has been affected by Dementia in some way, so to have a service like this operating is absolutely essential. My Nan suffered with it so I know the toll Dementia can take on people living with it and their families; this will be a vital support for them.

“My family didn’t have anything like this available to them and I wish we had, it’s a fantastic idea and I’m proud the sessions will be running from Howdon Community Hub. The centre is here for the community, and this is something the community really needs.”

There are around 3000 people over 65 living with Dementia across North Tyneside, and the condition is listed as the biggest cause of death in the UK.

Age UK North Tyneside’s Dementia Connections team currently supports almost 400 people a month who are living with Dementia, and their families. During the pandemic it has kept in touch with customers via telephone, Zoom and FaceTime, while also providing essential home visits. The idea for Meeting Centres originated in the Netherlands, where there are now hundreds dotted across the country.

Despite their success in Europe, they are still uncommon in the UK.

Kirsty De Bono-Hume, one of Age UK’s seven Dementia-specialist Admiral Nurses and the Centres’ ‘lead’, said: “The idea is to bring together the people affected by Dementia and support them through what can be a very difficult process. The Meeting Centres will provide an inclusive, warm and enjoyable environment to support both people with Dementia alongside their family carers.

“Activities will reflect the interests of the members and will promote practical, emotional and social adjustments, and there will always be Dementia specialists on hand to provide information and advice. There is nothing else like this in the North East and we think it is going to have a massive impact on people in the community.”

The first meeting will be held on July 8th. For more information, please call 0191 209 0092 or email us.

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