From an article on Pioneers Post
In 2010, nurses Laura Walker and Kate Smith turned their disillusionment with mainstream care into a high-impact, highly personal service for people affected by dementia.
Working in care homes, they found with errands to run, medicine to distribute, and hundreds of patients to see to, there was never enough time to comfort people. These people were not living well, they were really just surviving - often people with dementia are left to sit and do absolutely nothing. However they had seen places of “absolute excellence” in treating people with dementia, “seeing transformations” in people who were able to “live well and happily with the right support.”
Memory Matters social enterprise was born in 2010, designed to support people affected by dementia. It consists of three strands. One is Moments Café, which has the Memory Matters Hub, a drop-in information centre upstairs. The café has been open for three years and is “thriving” according to Laura, with almost 67,000 visitors in 2019. Income from the café helps the pair to run the building, provide one-to-one support and pay for their “growing” team of 27 staff, who work across all three aspects of the business.
Memory Matters also runs workshops for people with early to mid-stage dementia. Funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, there are 10 groups in Cornwall – allowing 85 people each week to access talking therapy. Cognitive stimulation therapy (CST) is proven to slow the progression of dementia, using the motto of ‘use it or lose it’. “The more we use our brains, the more there is to lose – we try to create more connections so that dementia has more to get through,” explains Laura. The sessions follow the same structure each week, creating patterns and repetition, and involve reality orientation (reminding people of place, date, time), newspaper discussion, singing, and word or number games. The team has seen a 70-80% rise in cognition – the ability to acquire knowledge and understanding – from these workshops, and even when cognition levels stay the same, Laura explains that it’s just as “exciting that they’re not deteriorating”.
The third strand is training hospital staff to manage challenging behaviours in dementia. And they’re piloting some other more unusual training schemes too. Inside Project, running at Dartmoor Prison, is teaching prisoners how to care for other prisoners with dementia.
60% of the revenue comes from trading, 40% from grant-funded projects. Turnover in 2019 was £300,000. In 2019, 75,500 people used Memory Matters services, 6,200 people took part in activities, 280 families were supported, 66,800 people visited the café. “Nursing is the opposite of business,” explains Laura. “It’s not about revenue, it’s just about caring. Working out how you do both has been the creative bit”.
They use values-based recruitment. All staff are recruited based on their personality and on Memory Matters’ organisational values (people-focused, passionate, open, positive, creative and fun). When values are shared, it builds trust and respect.
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They will also train you to run your own Memory Matters Workshops as part of their Fellowship. See here.
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From an article on Pioneers Post, 23/06/2020