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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Support for 12,500 Scots who have dementia and sight loss

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Charities are working together to provide enhanced care for those who face living with dementia and sight loss

Charities are working together to support vulnerable Scots who are struggling with dementia and sight loss.

Today (3 April) a new project will be launched which seeks to raise awareness of the care needs of thousands of people with dementia and sight loss.

The Minister for Mental Health, Clare Haughey MSP, will officially launch the project at Jenny’s Well in Paisley, one of Scotland’s two specialist care homes for sight loss run by the charity Royal Blind.

Royal Blind has been awarded £20,000 for the project by the Life Changes Trust with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund over two years.

Through the project, Royal Blind will research what activities in care homes people with sight loss and dementia find most rewarding, and how activities can be tailored to their needs. Many people with dementia enjoy reminiscence through looking at photographs or watching films. But since this can be challenging for people with sight loss, Royal Blind has developed a tasting activity for residents where they can take part in reminiscence through sampling traditional local foods.

The charity will also develop learning resources for other care providers who support people living with sight loss and dementia. Royal Blind research indicates that there are at least 12,500 people living with dementia and sight loss in Scotland. There are around 188,000 people living in Scotland with significant sight loss, around three quarters of whom are over 65. Sight loss is projected to double over the next two decades in Scotland, to almost 400,000 people.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Haughey said: “Many people living into old age who develop a visual impairment will also have dementia, and we know that there has been an increase in the number of care home residents with dementia.

“Jenny’s Well Care Home is now one of two specialist nursing care homes for older people with vision impairment in Scotland and this project is an excellent example of supporting people to lead fulfilling lives.

“The Scottish Government’s See Hear strategy sets out recommendations and areas for action to better meet the needs of people with a sensory impairment. This year we are also increasing our package of investment in social care and integration to exceed £700 million, underlining our commitment to support older people and disabled people.”

Mark O’Donnell, chief executive of Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded said: “Around 80% of residents at Jenny’s Well live with both dementia and sight loss. Over the coming years an increasing number of people in Scotland with dementia will also have sight loss, particularly as vision impairment can be a symptom of a number of different forms of dementia. Sight loss and dementia both require tailored approaches to care to ensure people living with the conditions receive the support they need.

“We want to develop our understanding and share learning through this project about how we provide that care and meaningful activities. As a result of the Life Changes Trust supporting us to take this research forward, we will involve people with dementia at every stage of the project so we can learn from them what activities they most enjoy, and how best we can provide them with the care they need.”

Anna Buchanan, chief executive of the Life Changes Trust, said: “The project is one of several that the trust is funding, looking at how rights can be made real for people with dementia living in care homes. We hope it will help us better understand the ways in which human rights can be secured and retained by people living with dementia and sight loss.”