OLDER people’s charity Guild Care is asking Herald readers for their help to improve its dementia services.
Guild Care, which is based in North Street, Worthing, is seeking people’s views on the support it already provides, as well as wanting to learn how they could be further developed in the future.
About 23 per cent, or one in four, of people in Worthing are over 65, and it is estimated that around 3,000 people living in the town have dementia.
The care it offers was invaluable to Worthing man and his late wife, who died last month having suffered with dementia for more than a decade.
John Simmonds, of Offington Avenue, Worthing, used to care for his wife Ann, who died in June aged 79.
John, 84, said: “The dementia started in 1999. It got worse as it went on.
“Guild Care had not just the time, but also the skills, to take Anne off my hands.
“They took her from 10am to 3pm, provided a meal, and endeavoured to make her play games and get her interested in things.”
Mr Simmonds added the charity also used to give Ann the exercise she needed, as he found it extremely difficult to walk slowly beside her.
He said: “Without them, life would have been very hard. I could then take time off to do my own thing and be perfectly assured that they would cope very well with her.”
Mr Simmonds said it was not just one person who would devote their time to her, and said all the people involved with her took it in turns to see her regularly.
“It was an open arrangement,” he added.
“Carers need some time on their own and not everyone is prepared to give up that time.”
Talking about how much time it took to care for his wife, he said: “Quite simply it started in the morning when I had to get her up, and so it went on all day long.
“Guild Care made a great deal of difference to her quality of life. Seeing me day in day out must have been as boring as one could imagine – she needed to see other people to encourage her imagination.”
The information received will inform both Guild Care’s existing services such as its time out for carers, its flagship respite service, and the development of new programmes.
Readers can participate in the survey online, at www.guildcare.org/dementia, or by answering the three questions below and sending the answers to Guild Care, FREEPOST SEA 2722, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 1DU.
All responses will be treated confidentially and each survey returned will be entered into a free prize draw.
Guild Care would like to know: What information would you like about dementia and community services? What practical support would you like? What is your main priority for dementia services?