In one of our early projects, we carried out a review of local dementia services in 2014/15.
With an estimated 1,500 people in Lambeth currently living with dementia - and with that number due to double over the next 30 years, we wanted to:
- Gain an insight into the experiences of local residents with dementia and their carers (both paid and unpaid)
- Explore how well different local health and care services worked together to support people with dementia, their families and carers.
Who we talked to
We spoke to:
- Care home and extra care residents (which led on to our extra care review)
- People with dementia living independently
- Family members and unpaid carers
- A range of service providers and programmes including: GPs, Lambeth and Southwark Memory Service, local dementia clubs, churches, commissioners, Southwark and Lambeth Integrated Care programme (SLIC) and the Health Innovation Network’s dementia programme
What we found
Our exploration revealed a lack of leadership and ambition to drive forward integrated dementia care in the borough. We discovered that services were working in isolation when supporting people living with dementia. We found low referral rates to the Memory Service with a three-month wait period, although referral numbers from GPs were increasing.
After diagnosis, families told us that they struggled to find the support they needed or to sustain contact once they had accessed a service. We also found high levels of loneliness and social isolation amongst people living with dementia. Families told us their greatest need was for social opportunities for their loved ones, alongside respite and flexible support for carers.
- Establishing a Dementia Action Alliance for Lambeth – we are pleased that Age UK Lambeth began an initiative in autumn 2017 to create a local alliance
- Tackling loneliness in care settings – NHS and Lambeth commissioners have since provided activity grants for all extra care schemes in the borough
- Continued resources for existing successful dementia clubs to meet demand
- Investment in volunteering schemes to support the inclusion of people with dementia