Happy New Year to everyone. I am confident 2021 we will feel far more 'in control' than 2020, which was quite a shock to us all I am sure. Over the months since the Pandemic started to really affect us, we have had a good amount of time to make some necessary adjustments in our day to day living a working. I have no doubt the real struggles will continue for a good while and there is still a lot of change to come, but for now at least we are getting on with things as best as we can.

One thing I have been very aware of during this process, is how it has been difficult to find a way of supporting individuals and families experiencing dementia through what is essentially and scary time from a health and financial point of view. Whilst we continue to deliver services as well as always in my private care company, I am saddened and frustrated by the cutting off of services to people in the early stages of dementia in their own homes, or the latest stages of dementia in Nursing care. Through DemPro CIC, I previously worked one to one in Complex care units in Nursing Homes. This was with some people that were considered tinvariablyoo vulnerable that I am appointed by social workers. I also worked directly with people in their own homes in the earlier stages of dementia. People in the early stages of dementia are equally vulnerable people for a multitude of different reasons. A person living in their own home requiring support from family members and friends require support for the benefit of themselves and their caregivers, so by helping to support one person, invariably many more are being supported in lots of cases. Both of these support scenarios are now being considered 'non essential' services and it is definitely exasperating what will become a very big crisis at a time when we could really do without anything else to worry about.

Back in March when it all started, I did offer my services for free, but no one took advantage of this. I am assuming this is for more than one reason, but I expect the fear of infection would have been the main one? Obviously there is always the fact that people tend not to trust people they do not know, especially when something seems too good to be true. This is a sad reality, but one we are all familiar with I expect. Hopefully in our new world we can start to change this distrust of kindness, but that is definitely for a different post.

DemPro as C.I.C is was not set up to deliver any sort of Home Care, Home Help, Domestic Help or Support Services as you will see if you look around the site. It was set up to offer Non-Pharmaceutical interventions for people living with Dementia and Cognitive decline. These services were in the beginning Cognitive Stimulation Therapy and Meaningful Activities. As a Dementia Specialist of over 30 years experience, I also offered Dementia Profile services and Crisis management. These are all services I have been delivering for 8 years in my private care company, but I really wanted to try and develop a non-profit, community based working, learning and development company so I could pass on my knowledge and ultimately the CIC to the next person or someone equally enthusiastic about developing real and effective solution for people at a low cost. I soon realised that there were many obstacles in this business model so took more of a holistic approach and integrated alternative and complimentary therapies such as energy and sound healing which in the care of Reiki is a socially prescribable service and therefore can be referred to/prescribed by the GP And then the Pandemic happened.

Over the months I have been examining the aims and objectives of DemPro and seriously considered giving up on it completely, but I keep coming back to it knowing I have worked most of my adult life with the passion to support the wellbeing of people experiencing Dementia.

So, I have concluded I have to move with the requirements of the individuals within my community who may need help at this time in ways that is outside my original plan. This will only be temporary and until such time that the organisation finds its way to organically grow to meet the real needs of people, whatever that may be to be of real service and given the obstacles that we may face.

I know without doubt that with the closures of day centres and local cafes/social spaces, there are a lot of people that are not leaving their homes at all. This causes all sorts of devastating effects for everyone, including caregivers. I know from feedback that people have lost the basic levels of support they would have had previously such as domestic help which puts an even greater strain on everyone. I know that caregivers are being stretched physically, emotionally and mentally by not being in the position to have a break from what is a very difficult job to do and this is leading to enormous amount of carer burnout.

For these and many more reasons I have decided to offer a Home Help service for people, over 65 with or without a diagnosis of demetia, but in view of moving back towards the original plan. This will also include one to one activities such as going out for a walk, playing games, Cognitive Stimulation Therapy and cooking together , etc. The area of services will initially be in the Wirral area, but I will consider going further afield on discussion of details.

I will undertake the things you would expect from a home help service such as shopping, cleaning, ironing and basic house maintenance and offer respite for Caregivers who may need a break.

As I still have profesional responsibilities in my private company, these services will only be offered for a limited hours a week, so advanced booking is vital.

This will be a non personal care service and all contact will be safe and complying to PPE regulations and Infection control guidelines, as stated by the UK Government.

For more information please call Gill on 07387 269727. This number is deverted so please leave a message or call back if these is no answer in the first instance and I will call back. Stay Safe.

Gill Irvine.