Youngsters give up time to help elderly with dementia at Riverlee Residential and Nursing Home in Lewisham

BY CALUM FRASER
calum@slpmedia.co.uk

Young schoolgirls volunteered at a care home to assist pensioners suffering from dementia.

The team and residents from the Riverlee Residential and Nursing Home (RRNH) in Franklin Place, Lewisham, welcomed students from Blackheath High School, giving them first-hand insight into caring for a loved one with dementia.

The year 11 girls aged 15 to 16 had completed their Dementia Friends training, an initiative from the Alzheimer’s Society.

Angela Neilson-Nagy, a teacher at Blackheath High School, said: “The students really benefited from and appreciated the time they spent with the residents. Our Year 11 students had a valuable opportunity to use the training they received from the Alzheimer’s Society, to spend time talking to the residents at Riverlee, some of whom live with dementia.”

The Dementia Friends programme is open to all members of the public and it is about taking small steps to improve your understanding of dementia, then armed with this, doing small everyday things to help.

Activities assistant at the home, Philip Kum, said: “The students were so respectful and wonderful with our residents. Our residents love welcoming new faces into the home and all chatted away very happily – they are looking forward to their next visit.”

RRNH is part of Sanctuary Care, which comes under the umbrella of the not-for-profit entity Sanctuary Group, which has 68 other care homes and hospital services in England and Scotland. Dementia describes different brain disorders that trigger a loss of brain function. These conditions are all usually progressive and eventually severe.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting 62 per cent of those diagnosed.

There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with the numbers set to rise to more than £1 million by 2025, according to Alzheimer’s Society figures.

To become a Dementia Friend visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk

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